If you could ask every one of the 313 million people in the United States if they love the beach, I’ll go out on a limb and suggest all of them would say “yes.”
What we do at Surfrider is connect people’s love of the coasts to caring for them.
So how to you connect as many coastal dwellers as possible? Facebook is one way (and of course there are others). Facebook is a feeder system, an onramp to connect people to coastal issues.
The recent article American’s use their phones every waking hour pointed to this opportunity. The reason organizations like ours have embraced social toolsets is because this is where people live.
But success isn’t having a lot of friends… or 820,000 people leaving a comment or thumbs up.
Success is our mission: protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches via a powerful activist network.
Connecting people to our mission is the first step. Next comes getting them to organize, to engage, to take our mission and make it their own mission.
The essence of Surfrider can be found in our chapter and high school network. These gatherings are where local, credible citizens engage because they care enough to protect what they love.
This authentic connection point is what has fueled the organic growth of our network.
This network is enabling is to be the strongest force for coastal preservation possible.
There are lots of ways to measure the results of an army like ours. I’m often reminded of the Sun Tzu-ism “the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” Pointing back to the Facebook number, if we influence enough people to value and preserve our oceans, waves and beaches we’ll have fewer battles to fight.
The above said, sometimes a fight to preserve an area needs to take place. This idea is fundamentally an American idea. Our founding fathers, Andrew Jackson, Abe Lincoln and later Teddy Roosevelt, formed what is today known as our National Parks. They understood the simple concept that we must preserve what we love so it remains for generations to come. Preserving open spaces, National Parks, has been called America’s best idea ever. Think about that for a second… now apply that mindset to our coastlines.
In the past twelve months our domestic network has netted 33 coastal wins. Every one of these were personal wins for the locals in coastal communities.
How many people does it take to save a coastline?
It takes all of us.
The health of the beaches in front of us offer a crisp visual of how we’re all doing on this effort. One thing is clear, we need your help.
Read more from Jim Moriarty on his blog.