More than once someone has said to me “you guys should be fighting this issue.” When I hear that phrase, I immediately understand that the person talking has little-to-no understanding of how Surfrider Foundation works. We are a platform for volunteers to take on coastal issues that they deem worthy. We are not a SWAT team waiting for someone’s signal so we can parachute in and save the day. There are massive differences between these two things.
Surfrider Foundation is made up of hundreds of thousands of people that volunteer on behalf of the coasts, some in large ways and other in small ways. Most of that large number do very little, but the fact that they DO act in some way sets them apart from the tens of millions of people that live on the coast. A meaningful percent of that total number does a bit more – they may come to beach cleanups or a social gathering. A small percent of the total do large amounts of work on behalf of their local coasts. What all these people have in common is they are volunteers. They don’t just talk about what’s wrong, they act on it and focus on issues that intersect with Sufrider’s mission. Surfrider does have paid staff in various parts of the world, but these people exist to enhance our core strategy: engaged activism.
We are not some kind of special forces unit (complete with black helicopters) that will look out for your favorite coastal spot, beach access or make sure the water isn’t polluted when your child plays in it. We could be all of those things – if someone deems those issues important enough. Unless someone goes beyond just caring about an issue and actually acts, the outcome of that issue will be defined by others, and it’s very possible that it will be defined in a way that isn’t aligned with the way you’d like to see things. Beach access could be lost, water could stay polluted or a wave could be lost.
We’re simply a platform for people to volunteer on a given coastal issue. We’d LOVE to have you join us.