Last Thursday I was asked to judge an ocean-themed science project contest at St. Margaret's in San Juan Capistrano, which was unbelievable to say the least. Wow, how smart, engaged, and participating the students are! Their enthusiasm for change and for a better tomorrow resonated throughout their oral presentations.

For most of these groups the popular topic was that of the North Pacific Gyre, which was neat since I returned from the South Atlantic Gyre myself just a bit more than two months ago and know a little bit about them myself. I was impressed with the students for a multitude of reasons — their PowerPoint presentations, recycling plastic trash ideas, using water canteens instead of throwaway water bottles, printing out their own pamphlets, initiating their own beach cleanups and getting other students and outside businesses involved, not to mention their own idea of a water filtration plant for urban run-off.

I could go on and on. There was a touch of compassion in every project that was presented. They really understood just how much our environment and oceans are at risk. To say I was proud of them all would be an understatement. Equally commendable was their teacher, Eric Harrington, in appealing to these kids through such a great project.

While on the topic of inspiring others, I had the pleasure of meeting Shayne Moore at Laguna Beach Books last Thursday as well. Shayne Moore is another great example of a person who decided to get involved and participate in what she believes in. As she stated that night, one phone call would change her life forever, and her telling journey is beautifully captured in the just-released book titled "Global Soccer Mom."

As she says, "Changing the world is easier than you think."

Peace.

JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, professional surfer and John Kelly Environmental Award winner. His websites include AlohaSchoolofSurfing and ECOWarrior Surf.com. He can be reached at Jamo@Aloha SchoolofSurfing.com.