sustainability consulting & current projects


Sustainability Consulting

how can we envision and create sustainable lives in harmony with nature and human wellbeing? building on existing assets and learning from one another and the natural world, we transform harmful patterns of over-consumption, environmental pollution and social exploitation.

we believe sustainability is built on strengthening relationships of solidarity and mutual support, deepening Earth consciousness, and honoring one another's unique skills as gifts to be shared for collective benefit.  

Tarantula Surf offers sustainability consulting for organizations, families, social businesses, communities and individuals.

our strategy: asking the right questions to deepen awareness and help you design homegrown solutions outside-the-box.

there is no blue-print for sustainability - we help you explore the possibilities already within your reach.

together we can create a more harmonious, inspiring world.

consultant Tara Ruttenberg is a PhD Candidate in Sustainable Development. Her work explores wellbeing economics and sustainable alternatives to economic development in coastal communities affected by surfing tourism.

contact Tara to schedule your free 20-minute consult.  


current projects


SUSPIRO: Sustainable Tourism Solutions for Coastal Communities in Surfing Destinations

SUSPIRO's sustainable surf tourism model is an innovative experiment in the possibility of community-led alternatives to development and coastal tourism management. Where status quo attempts at regulation reproduce capitalist privilege, environmental exploitation and social injustice, SUSPIRO shifts the discussion toward community tourism governance and assets-based sustainability. Employing an inclusive, community-driven methodology, SUSPIRO works alongside local people to subvert neocolonial power dynamics, co-create sustainable community projects and develop self-determined regulatory frameworks by facilitating dialogue and action across social sectors.

In affiliation with the Community Economies Research Network, SUSPIRO offers the first comprehensive process for locally determined sustainability criteria and alternatives to development in surfing tourism destinations, centering local community members' perspectives in the places they call home.

To learn more or contribute to SUSPIRO's work, contact Tara today.

REVIVE Surf & Wellness - A Surf Retreat With Soul

REVIVE awakens the spirit of learning in community conversation and exposure to a side of surf travel we often take for granted. As a different sort of surf trip, we deepen into a conscientious awareness of the impact of tourism and development on places and people, exploring alternatives that honor nature, economics, and culture, while reflecting on and re-imagining our role as surfer and human travelers. 

Deepen into indigenous knowledge and local histories, explore the cosmo-vision and inclusion of the human family.  All participants are welcomed to share their unique gifts (however large or small), and skills with coastal villages we visit. Our experience of culture is not a spectator sport. We surf secret spots, walk peaceful beaches, and share the waters as we join in ways that honor indigenous people and provide heartfelt interpersonal exchange.

This surf-and-service learning adventure is for conscientious surf travelers AND &non-surfers&, who know that in giving from the heart, we receive gifts of the soul, spirit. As real surfers and travelers, REVIVE is designed by folks that take care to introduce folks to quality places, waves, beaches, waterways, food and fun. Our leaders and established chefs are chosen for their intimate knowledge of surf, food, culture and wellness. We have established long-standing relations with communities we visit, boat captains, and hotel owners. Service projects we contribute to allow for all levels of contributions and sharing.

Sign-up today for REVIVE'S next Adventure:

Pacific Islands, A Wave Rich Bay, Sanctuary and Organic Farm - Cebaco Island Pacific, Montijo Bay, Veraguas, Panama June 28-July 5th

More information:


Surfing & Sustainability: Political Ecology in Costa Rica

July 7 - August 4, 2016

University-level course for undergraduates, graduate students and professional development

As a magnet for global surf tourism, Costa Rica's Pacific Coast is being rapidly transformed today as communities face the complex challenges of promoting sustainability and conserving nature while catering to increasing demands for development and economic growth. Travelling up the coast from south to north, we visit a number of towns and surf destinations to learn how these communities are responding to the changing realities of which they are a part.

Viewing the communities we visit through an ethnographic lens at the intersections of political ecology, anthropology, and geography, we meet with local surfers, business owners, tourism operators, and visiting tourists along the way, learning first-hand from the people and places whose stories aren't often heard. In the process, we engage directly with the many complex issues critical to the debate on international surf tourism, sustainability, and development.

Students explore these issues on the ground (and in the water), receiving 6 fully-transferable credits in 2 course offerings under the auspices of the University of Georgia - Costa Rica: 1) Communities, Conservation, and Development; and 2) the Anthropology of Surfing. 

For more information, visit our program website here.

Surfing, Women & Sustainability: Writing New Stories

... course info coming soon...