Humans are very mean to our oceans; the oceans ought to take a studded belt to us and learn us some manners. We know we must do better, but ask us to pay attention to 10 issues and we forget them all; pick a single, mission-critical cause and we just might pay attention. Or so we figured when we asked Surfrider Foundation CEO Jim Moriarty which single, indispensable environmental issue surfers should take seriously at all costs. This is what he said.
JIM MORIARTY: When we think of water, we probably either think of the water we drink or the water we surf in; what we often miss is that these two types of water are connected. Water is a finite resource — there isn’t any “new” water being created. All water on the planet has been recycled since day one, and our choices as surfers play a role in that cycle.
We know that the water we see going down street drains, picking up and transporting a toxic cocktail of pollutants, ends up in the ocean. The reality is that we are not bystanders in that simple act of pollution; we’re impacted by it directly. The water picks up pollution and then drains to the ocean. We surf in that ocean. We get sick. Many of us get shots to prevent us from getting sick. This is our reality.
Sure, we know about the water cycle (water from the ocean evaporates, forms clouds, rains, and becomes drinking water, etc), but it’s easy to forget how our daily choices are either part of the solution or the problem. We’re affected by choices like how people get rid of dog poop, or what they do with expired prescription drugs. If dog poop isn’t picked up, then it’s right there with us as we duck dive. If our friends flush prescription drugs down the toilet, those drugs eventually end up in our ocean. We’re in the water and water is in us. From one surfer to another, the next time you see water — whether it’s heading down the drain or coming from your faucet — take a moment to connect the dots. That next toilet flush may just be the water in your next barrel. Hopefully it’ll be a clean barrel.
I invite you to learn more about water quality, supply and management, and really get to know your H2O at www.knowyourh2o.org.