If you are on this site you most likely are a person that enjoys the beach, oceans, and outdoors.
The awe-inspiring coastlines we all love so much are under serious threat. Surfers are among those who see and experience ocean pollution first-hand, and it is now becoming clearer than ever that these lands might not still be around for future generations to enjoy.
The coastal environment has fallen victim to its own success. With tourism development comes excessive artificial changes that are threatening the coastal ecosystem. Here are some hair-raising facts that I hope will convince you to take action today:
Every minute, the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans. Over 8 million metric tons of plastic are being dumped in our oceans each year.
Plastic makes up nearly 70% of all ocean litter.
A plastic bag was found at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest point in the ocean, extending 36,070 feet (10,994 meters) down into the Pacific Ocean.
91% of plastic is not recycled. It is predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
In the last few decades, the shark population has experienced a dramatic decline, of up to 80% in some species. This is the result of human intervention on their environment.
Over the last century, sea turtle populations have declined dramatically, some species by up to 90%.
The North Atlantic right whale could face extinction.
Dolphin populations are declining at an alarming rate. One in four species of dolphin is on the brink of extinction.
The ocean absorbs around 40% of the carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels, and coral reefs are the ones that suffer for this.
Heavy industrialization has a hazardous impact on coral reefs. The ocean chemistry that the reefs rely on to survive is constantly being altered by chemical runoff, discharged sewage, animal waste, sediments from deforested areas, and destructive fishing practices. Over the past 30 years, roughly half of the world’s coral reefs have been lost. Since 2016, half of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has died.
It is predicted that over 90% of the world’s coral reefs will die by 2050.
Overfishing and pollution are taking their toll. Don’t turn a blind eye! It might be too late to reverse the consequences that we brought onto ourselves, but we can try our best to slow them down. Stay informed and find out what you can do to help to avoid the dark predictions above. While scientists all agree that our oceans are facing extinction, they do not have a clear game plan. Unfortunately, it is too late for easy solutions. But you CAN make a change by thinking globally and acting locally. Join a non-profit organization and help make a difference. Surf with a purpose!
The following are some you could join, though there are a lot of good ones along with these.
The Surfrider Foundation is a community of everyday people who passionately protect our playground – the ocean, waves, and beaches -that provide us so much enjoyment.
Founded by a group of surfers turned environmentalists, the Surfrider Foundation has been fighting to protect the beaches and oceans worldwide since 1984. The California-based nonprofit organization allows people to connect and participate in coastal conservation efforts.
Surfrider Foundation is the oldest surf-based environment-focused organization. Through their strong media presence, they strive to ensure clean and healthy oceans by supporting water-quality testing, beach cleanups, community projects, dune grass planting, and fighting against plastic marine pollution. Here are some of Surfrider’s biggest victories:
Banning plastic bags in California
Saving Trestles from the toll road
Having protected the Atlantic from offshore oil drilling
The powerful activist network operates in multiple locations in the United States, with branches extending all the way to South America, Europe, and Japan. Surfrider Foundation Europe was founded in 1990 by a handful of surfers and now counts over 12,000 members and volunteer chapters in nine European countries.
Save The Waves’ vision is a world where waves and coastlines are cherished and protected, and surfing provides a proactive vehicle for long-term coastal conservation. Save The Waves protects coastal ecosystems around the world through innovative strategies in partnership with local communities. Utilizing a unique combination of protected areas, economics, and direct action, Save The Waves partners with locals to preserve their coastal resources and in turn strengthen their communities.
Save the Waves is a global nonprofit organization that seeks to address a large number of concerning environmental issues. Based in Davenport, California, they have a strategic game plan to protect coastal regions by focusing on the surf spots.
Famous surf spots are threatened by harbors, jetties, coastal armoring, and breakwaters, which can cause the waves to disappear altogether and the ecosystems to face irreparable damage. In fact, the coalition was born after a perfect world-class wave was damaged by backwash on the island of Madeira in 2001.
Through their World Surfing Reserves program, launched in 2009 together with National Surfing Reserves Australia and the International Surfing Association, they help conserve some of the world’s greatest surf spots and coastlines. It’s not just the surf breaks that they wish to protect, but also the environmental, cultural, and economic characteristics of an area.
Pretty simple, Take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, waterway or… anywhere and you have made a difference. What began as a grassroots organization has grown into a global community of beach-lovers, surfers, and environmentalists who wish to keep their favorite spots clean. Founded in 2009 by surfing enthusiast Amanda Marechal, marine ecologist Roberta Dixon-Valk, and environmentalist Tim Silverwood, Take3 is an Australia-based nonprofit organization with a simple yet loud message: “Take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, waterway… or anywhere special, and you’ve made a difference.”
Take3 is an international organization that is currently present in 129 countries with the help of Instagram. Their aim is to reduce global plastic pollution through education and participation, while fighting to get beach-goers to clean up their trash when they leave the beach.
What you can do:
Help reduce global plastic pollution by following Take3’s message: Take 3 pieces of rubbish when you leave the beach, waterway or…anywhere!
Donate to support an ocean free of plastic pollution. Subscribe to their newsletter to receive info about the latest projects and upcoming beach cleanups.
You could also shop their online store to help raise important funds for educational programs in schools, local communities, and surf clubs. Join the movement by using the #take3forthesea hashtag to spread the word and inspire other communities to take action as well.
Surfers are known for their deep connection with the ocean, but many of these athletes create waves while fighting for animal rights, erasing poverty throughout the world and battling those intent on destroying the environment. What is awesome you can join them and do your part to help!