The state of the world’s oceans is under threat. Those industries that make the most money from our seas are doing the most damage through industrial pollution, agricultural runoff, overfishing and transport. On the other hand, those who simply enjoy the wonders of the ocean without polluting it (for the most part, anyway) are trying to preserve its health and beauty. This is the idea behind Surfrider Foundation Europe.
Surfrider Foundation is a global network of groups which began in Malibu, California in 1984. Just six years later Surfrider Foundation Europe was founded in Biarritz, France. They realized that it was in the interest of surfers to protect their beloved beaches and waves from pollution, degradation and overdevelopment.
Though originally started by surfers, Surfrider Foundation Europe is by no means limited to those who participate in the sport.
From their official website:
Surfrider Foundation Europe brings together people from all walks of life, with a common passion for the ocean and dedication to caring for the coastline. No matter how you enjoy the coastline (sporting, bathing or walking), if you feel the need to act in order to save your coastline’s natural heritage, then you can start by joining the Surfrider Foundation.
Surfrider Foundation Europe is also becoming more and more active in Portugal, with its Porto branch recently joining up with the new Surfers Lab surf shop in Sagres to promote environmentally friendly surfing products, starting with a new model of Spy sunglasses.
From an official Surfers Lab press release (my translation from Portuguese):
With a shared passion for surfing and the common objective of environmental education, this partnership with Surfrider in the United States aims to promote Surfrider Foundation’s “Rise Above Plastics” campaign, while making advances in the development of environmentally friendly sunglasses constructed from sustainable materials.
In case you didn’t know, plastics (especially plastic bags) are one of the main sources (and facilitators) of oceanic pollution. While they don’t actually biodegrade, plastics break down into tiny particles, which resemble plankton and are mistakenly eaten by many small fish and other marine animals. Not only do the plastic particles lack any nutrition, they also absorb toxic pollution from the seawater. In this way, toxic plastic enters the food chain at the bottom and stay in it all the way to the top meaning that if you eat seafood, you’re eating toxins put there through oceanic plastic waste.
Read about the efforts of Surfrider Foundation Europe to combat marine litter here.