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Mission of Influence

By Jennifer Moulaison

Brent Allen Outside’s mission is a simple one: get people outside. The small but mighty outdoor sport and adventure travel business based out of Monterey doesn’t merely expose the public to extraordinary natural wonders, it lends perspective to bigger environmental issues currently facing our generation.

According to owner and founder Brent Allen, the idea is to get people to enjoy nature responsibly. With stand-up paddle eco tours, endurance sports hosting and commentating, and adventure travel promotion among its offerings, Brent Allen Outside is doing that and so much more. “We take people out paddling, but we have the opportunity to discuss other things that are happening,” he says. “With the backdrop of majestic marine life, it changes you and lends perspective to what we’re doing as a society that is ruining these incredible landscapes.”

Allen originates from Oklahoma and is a descendant of the Cherokee Nation Indian Tribe. With ancestral ties directly to the Trail of Tears, stewardship of the land and a deep respect for nature is something of a family legacy. But the idea to start Brent Allen Outside didn’t come to Allen until 2014, after his father passed away. He became inspired to pursue his passion for protecting waters through paddleboard sports.

In 2016, Allen’s mother passed away, and in 2017, his wife, Kelley, was diagnosed with cancer. Allen put a hold on all things business to care for his wife during her surgeries. He dedicated any down time to working on environmental initiatives. During that time, Allen built collaborative relationships in the community that continue to shape the kind of business Brent Allen Outside is today.

Allen has been able to collaborate with members of the community whom he describes as the “real doers,” and who are very important now more than ever. From the epidemic of single-use plastics to the magnitude of the cruise industry’s negative impact on marine life, there are significant environmental assaults on our oceans. Allen explains that, while it’s important for people to enjoy natural resources through activities such as stand-up paddleboarding, many people aren’t aware of the unintended results that tourism is having on water ecosystems.

Monterey, for example, started as a sardine canning community in 1902, and thus the small coastal communities of the Monterey Peninsula lack the infrastructure to alleviate the damage being done in current times. “We’re seeing more and more cruise ships allowed into the Monterey Bay,” says Allen. This is a serious problem, as the Bay was deemed a National Marine Sanctuary in 1992. “The deafening white noise created by the massive engines and generators necessary to run these floating cities is among the causes of ship strikes to endangered whales along the California coast,” he explains “Cigarette butts are highly toxic to animals and take up to a decade to biodegrade. The animals mistake them for food,” adds Allen. Plastics and plastic beach toys for children are one of the most common trash items found floating in the kelp beds.

But there’s good news. Thanks to initiatives of Brent Allen Outside and other organizations, conservation efforts in the Monterey Bay have grown exponentially. Public environmental awareness is increasing and small acts are making a difference, even if it’s picking up debris on the local beach or opting out of a lid and straw with their beverage. “I make time to get out and clean up beaches whenever I can,” says Allen. “Invariably, someone sees me and asks what I’m doing, and that’s one more conversation.” His message is wherever we go, whatever we enjoy, we owe it to ourselves to take care of the planet. “We’re at a point where we have no choice but to speak up and take action,” concludes Allen.

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