I got a call several weeks ago from a friend who wanted to know whether I knew that Surfrider Foundation was spearheading beach cleanup activities at my favorite beach. My honest answer was that I was unaware of that. Beach Cleanups in recent years have gained a lot of momentum capturing the volunteer efforts of adults that want to give back to the community while setting an example for youth and kids who have become inspired by the ability to make a difference while protecting the ocean and beaches they love. I have seen many groups clean up and advocate for Aliso Beach in recent years and their efforts do not go unnoticed. Of the groups that hold events to remove clutter from Aliso Beach, none is probably more visible locally, nationally and globally than the Surfrider Foundation which is a huge ally of the world’s oceans and beaches with an army of volunteers, political clout and funded legal representation that takes on groups and developers that threaten the coastal environment with their projects. Without question, they are a necessary player in shielding our coastal resources from business interests some of which intentionally and other unintentionally try and steam roll the environment with their own projects and interests. Not all business is in the best interest of the world’s coastal environments and Surfrider Foundation is a powerful force in delaying and preventing business decisions from putting the health of our coastal environments at risk.
Today I spoke to a young man named Nyra. Nyra, if I screwed up the spelling man, my bad and I apologize! I asked him about the efforts of Surfrider Foundation at Aliso Beach and he indicated that he has been staging the event on behalf of the foundation and not one person has showed up to help. As the administrator of the Aliso Beach website, you can imagine that was a little embarrassing. First of all, I had not idea they were doing the cleanup there until recently and secondly because I have not done enough to help them get the word out. The worst thing I can do is let that lack of foot soldiers and volunteers convince him that people down there simply don’t care. Per Nyra, he is there every Saturday from 10:00 am – 1:00pm and unfortunately I have forgotten the times on the two weekdays. I am pledging my support to Nyra who has sat in the elements waiting for people to come join his pledge to keep Aliso Beach clean. If I am in town next week, I intend to be the first volunteer to help him with his beach cleanup at Aliso Beach and will have told some local friends that I want them to join me. The first person that tells Nyra that they are a friend of the Aliso Beach website and Rob said to come help with the beach cleanup will get one of the following absolutely free. Let’s get the word out and help Nyra with his good work!
1) 2 Phone Cases (IPhone 4/4S, IPhone 5/5S, IPhone 6, IPhone 6 Plus, Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S5) based on the photography of Scotty Carter. (You select your image for the cases)
2) A matted print of Aliso Beach based on the photography of Scotty Carter (You select your image for the print)
Surfrider has some amazing local programs. Here is a snapshot of a couple of them:
The Save Trestles Program has thwarted the effort to build a toll road from inland that was proposed to connect to the Trestles area. Surfrider’s belief was that this toll road shouldn’t be made when its construction would threaten the watershed of this area as well as carve up land that represents sacred Native American Sites. We can’t just tear the environment up at the expense of the environment every time we see an opportunity to make our lives and travel easier. Surfrider and a decorated list of environmental advocates continue to attend public TCA meetings and regulatory meetings with a close eye on the likelihood another mounted effort to build this toll road rises once again. In 2008 the Secretary of Commerce decided that the proposed toll road would not steer clear of breaking environmental laws. That is where it sits as of the moment but I don’t think anyone in their right mind thinks that the TCA will give up. No doubt Surfrider and valuable community outreach partners and environmental groups will be on the front lines keeping Trestles just that….the Trestles we know and love.
This month, the Coastal Advisory Commission was to recommend a plastic ban bag in San Clemente and Surfrider was behind this initiative 100%. Plastic is one of the biggest problems we have in our world as human beings consume our challenges with plastic seems to grow exponentially. There are plastic garbage patches in every ocean large enough to walk across and not fall into the ocean and they are getting worse. It is poisoning marine birds, mammals and fish that ingest them and unavoidable to all sea creatures in the food chain. The documentaries I have seen on the damage it is doing to wildlife in and out of the water in the marine environment are riveting. We are poisoning the oceans. We should ban plastic bags everywhere. It just isn’t that hard to work with reusable canvas bags.
These are by no means representative of all that Surfrider does. What they do is 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, everywhere the ocean meets the shore. It is a full time job and they do great things. To see other South Orange County Surfrider Chapter Programs click this link. If you are ocean and environment minded and would like to get involved with this Chapter, including donating to Surfrider, becoming a member of Surfrider and volunteering with Surfrider, please click the links provided. If you love the coastal environments, what a terrific way to give back and join the legion of people all pulling the same direction to protect the oceans and beaches against interests that will put them at risk.