Activist Spotlight
November 18 2015

Live the mission

 

Beth Kwart

South Jersey Chapter, NJ

Volunteer (and/or Member) Since: 2009

Q: Why and when did you get involved with the Surfrider Foundation?

My then boyfriend, now husband, and I went to a clean up together as a date. We wanted to help out because we love the ocean. It happened for me like it does a lot of people - I went to about three meetings and then I was voted in as Chapter Secretary.

Q: What are some local issues that are affecting your ocean, waves and beaches?

We have litter issues like most places, with single use bags and bottle clogging sewers, contributing to flooding, and making their way to the ocean. But we also have a bay-front coal-fired power plant, B.L. England, which is trying to convert to natural gas by running a natural gas pipeline through protected forestland that sits on top of our drinking aquifer. It is a disaster waiting to happen - which is why we are trying to stop it.

Q: What Surfrider projects have you worked on?

Mostly Rise Above Plastics. I am currently working with four coastal towns advocating to pass a fee on single use bags. While some are trying, no town in New Jersey has done anything like this yet so it will be huge when it happens.

Q: What has been the highlight of your Surfrider experience (i.e., campaign, program, victory)?

We've been working on this bag issue in Brigantine, NJ for years now. The first time we showed Bag It there, when the movie was just released, we had maybe five people attend. We showed it again recently and 50 people came! It's been rewarding to see the culture start to change with more people taking action and speaking up. This past summer, the Brigantine's Farmers Market went plastic free and their local hardware store stopping using plastic bags.

Q: What is the most important thing you tell others about Surfrider?

We are volunteers, doing this because we feel a responsibility to protect the ocean as people who love to enjoy the ocean.

Q: Will you complete the following sentence: Hi my name is Beth, and I am Surfrider because… I live the mission of "protect and enjoy."