As we start another year, it is a great opportunity to confirm all things important in our lives. This includes looking ahead, and giving love and attention to those things that are dear to us all. In addition to family, business, and community, one thing I know for certain is that our ocean, reefs and ecosystem deserves some of that love. I feel that it is important to give back and care for those things that has given me so much pleasure. So I, along with a core group of passionate volunteers (you know who you are!) have made it our quest to stand up for our ocean, beaches and reefs.
 
This is the year, folks. This is the year to take a stand and make changes that will positively affect our ocean and coastline. I hope that you do more than just think about it. I hope that you will carve out the time (and/or dollars) to effect positive changes that will keep our oceans and beaches clean and safe for all to enjoy!
 
Who is Surfrider Foundation? Surfrider Foundation started in 1984 when a small band of surfers/ocean lovers found that a polluted stream flowing into their favorite surf break was making people sick and they decided to do something about it. From there, it ignited a revolution where Surfrider has grown into a world-wide organization. 
 

Mike Ottman Collecting water samples for Blue Water Task Force

 

Surfrider’s Mission Statement: 

 
 
The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.
 
The Surfrider Foundation has built a network of coastal defenders who transform their passion for their coasts into lasting protection. Bridging knowledge and national experts in law, policy and science – both the playbook and team – produces victories for our beaches year after year With 161 chapters and clubs around the world, Surfrider has achieved over 500 victories (since keeping track in 2006).
 
In Hawaii, we have a unique situation. With over 1.4 million people plus hundreds of thousands of visitors at any given time, inhabiting 8 islands and being located over 2,500 miles from the mainland, this presents us with unique challenges. To list a few:
 
 
  • Over 90% of what we use in Hawaii is imported (creating a big carbon footprint)
  •  currently, only 5 days of food to support the 160k residents on Maui + 200k visitors (at any given time) – this means big food security issues
  •  tons and tons of garbage produced daily (including one-use plastics) that is left piling up in our overflowing dumps
  • increased runoff of trash, pesticides, fertilizers, human waste, etc. into our shorelines, reefs and ecosystems – all are killing animal and making people sick
  • increased amounts of Plastic pollution building up on our shorelines (think North Pacific Gyres…)
  • eroding coastlines, reduced coastal access, growing population, increasing weather events…
We all agree that we face growing challenges. Throw in the very recent – and largest ever in Hawaii – land sale on Maui’s central and north shore, and I think you would agree that we need to work harder than ever – banding together – to step up and create positive change.
 
To tackle these and other important issues, Surfrider has developed a series or goals and campaigns:
 
  1. Beach Cleanups – targeting beaches around the island to collect garbage.
  2. Blue Water Task Force – currently testing 18 beaches on Maui’s north shore to identify any problem areas as well as to develop baseline studies that will help guide and influence future land use above. Also working with partners to establish water testing on south and west sides.
  3. Ocean Friendly Restaurants – Assisting restaurants on island to convert to more combustible, earth-friendly practices
  4. Legislation – supporting laws that eliminate harmful products, plastic pollution (think plastic bags, foam, cigarette butts, one-use plastics…)
  5. Coastal preservation and access 
Our volunteers are the lifeblood of Surfrider. I’d love to have you join our network – your local chapter – to work together to help tackle the issues that face our ocean and beaches. Click this link to find out more or to join our fun, lively family of ocean lovers!