This Wednesday, June 20th 2012 is the first official day of summer in the northern hemisphere. This is the longest day of the year for northerners making the solstice the perfect day to get outside and have yourself a good adventure. This June 20th will also mark the 8th annual International Surfing Day. International Surfing Day is the perfect excuse to get out and go for a ride on your favorite body of water. It doesn’t matter if it’s the ocean or a lake so long as it’s a body of water you enjoy! The event has become global over the past several years as it unites surfers from around the world to celebrate the spirit, culture and soul of surfing. This year it’s expected that over 200 events in 30 countries across the globe will take place.
In addition to catching some waves and playing with water, surfers are encouraged take some time to give back to their oceans, waves and beaches. As in previous years, the Surfrider Foundation will be organizing various beach cleanup and coastal restoration events in support. The Surfrider Foundation has been active for more than 25 years and maintains a standpoint to protect oceans, waves, and beaches. What started with a focus on the ocean has blossomed out into an identity that promotes healthy measures for all bodies of water. The Surfrider’s Mission reads:
“A little over 25 years ago three people in Malibu, California found out that their favorite wave was about to be destroyed. Think about that for a second.
Think about something you love… something that gives you enjoyment. Taken away.
First Point, pictured to the right, the quintessential perfect California wave was about to be destroyed. Those three people organized and worked with the local municipalities until they were satisfied that their efforts to preserve that iconic wave would be successful.
This was the genesis of Surfrider Foundation.
Today, we are doing this same thing in about 18 countries around the world.
Our mission is the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.
You can think about that as three concepts. “Protection and enjoyment”, we don’t want to put a velvet rope around a beach and tell people to keep off. We’re surfers, we’re beach goers, we’re watermen… we enjoy the coasts. We’re a user group. Next up is “oceans, waves and beaches.” Think coastlines, we’re engaged with environmental issues that affect our coastlines. “Powerful activist network” speaks to how we go about this mission. We are a grassroots organization. We’re local in many coastal regions.
We’re moms, we’re surfers, we’re kids and teens… we’re you. We’re engaged to protect what we love: oceans, waves and beaches.
We would love to have you join us, you can join Surfrider here.”
The Surfrider Foundation has chapters located all over the U.S. and the world, and is currently engaged in numerous campaigns to promote oceanic, wave and beach protection, clean water, beach access, beach preservation and the protection of special places.
One of their most visible efforts that unites sustainability supporters from all corners of the earth is their “Rise Above Plastics” campaign. Across the U.S., while not free from scrutiny and criticism, urban centers near the ocean like L.A. have passed measures to ban the use of plastic bags, as have mountain communities like Telluride and Aspen. No matter where you live, if you appreciate water, water resources, and recreational opportunities associated with water celebrating International Surfing Day is a great excuse to get out in your community and get active. Water quality and water health impacts all people just as plastics do. Plastics are something found in just about every corner of the world these days, including many parts of the oceans. International Surfing Day is a great excuse to get out somewhere you love and show your support.
According to Surfrider:
Ten Ways To Rise Above Plastics
Here are ten easy things you can do to reduce your ‘plastic footprint’ and help keep plastics out of the marine environment:
- Choose to reuse when it comes to shopping bags and bottled water. Cloth bags and metal or glass reusable bottles are available locally at great prices.
- Refuse single-serving packaging, excess packaging, straws and other ‘disposable’ plastics. Carry reusable utensils in your purse, backpack or car to use at bbq’s, potlucks or take-out restaurants.
- Reduce everyday plastics such as sandwich bags and juice cartons by replacing them with a reusable lunch bag/box that includes a thermos.
- Bring your to-go mug with you to the coffee shop, smoothie shop or restaurants that let you use them. A great wat to reduce lids, plastic cups and/or plastic-lined cups.
- Go digital! No need for plastic cds, dvds and jewel cases when you can buy your music and videos online.
- Seek out alternatives to the plastic items that you rely on.
- Recycle. If you must use plastic, try to choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE), which are the most commonly recycled plastics. Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both typically have very low recycling rates.
- Volunteer at a beach cleanup. Surfrider Foundation Chapters often hold cleanups monthly or more frequently.
- Support plastic bag bans, polystyrene foam bans and bottle recycling bills.
- Spread the word. Talk to your family and friends about why it is important to Rise Above Plastics!