Activist Spotlight, Partner Spotlight
September 25 2017

Meet Catherine Uden, Surfrider Activist and Coastal Defender

by Ty Smith

Surfrider is proud to be partnered with our Surf Industry Coastal Defender, Electric to keep the eyes of Surfrider activists around the country protected from the elements as they carry out Surfrider campaigns and programs in their local communities. Support from Electric helps us achieve important programatic work. Learn more about the amazing impact of one Surfrider activist from our Broward County Chapter, Catherine Uden, who is working to protect our ocean, waves, and beaches for generations to come.

Tell us a little about yourself. Has the beach always been a big part of your life?

The beach is a huge part of my life. I will never be able to live far from the ocean. When I am at the beach, I am home, and all is right with the world. 

How’d you get involved with Surfrider, and what is your role with your local Chapter?

I became involved with Surfrider when I started standup paddling in the Ft. Lauderdale intracoastal and realized how much harmful litter was entering our waterways. I started by attending beach cleanups, then by going to meetings, then helping at events, and then becoming part of the Broward Chapter's executive board. I am currently Chair of the Broward Chapter in Florida.

Can you tell us about one of the initiatives your Chapter is focusing on right now that is a high priority?

We have been focusing a lot on plastic pollution. We have been working on encouraging restaurants to become Ocean Friendly Restaurants, helping to pass resolutions of support for plastic bag bans in Broward cities, and we try to organize and host a beach or waterway cleanup once a month. Lately, there have also been a lot of sewage spills in the intracoastal, so we would like to launch a Blue Water Task Force all-volunteer water testing program. 

We have been campaigning for cities to pass resolutions of support for plastic bag regulation and have been successful in passing resolutions in several cities. We have also been successful in helping to pass an ordinance for the use of polystyrene in the city of Hollywood. A big goal for all Florida chapters is to fight for the rights of coastal communities in being able to have home rule over plastic and polystyrene regulation. This will only be a victory if everyone who cares about our beaches and oceans becomes an activist.  

Currently, Florida law does not allow cities to pass plastic bag bans or plastic bag fees. We need everyone to call their lawmakers in support of bag bans, and we need everyone to vote for environmental candidates who will support local rule on bag bans. We also ask that everyone please spread awareness about the problem of plastic in our oceans.  

For those of us who don’t already participate with their local Surfrider Chapter, how can they support this initiative, support your Chapter or make a difference for our ocean, waves and beaches?

Ocean lovers should participate in beach cleanups, attend Surfrider meetings and events, take a minute or two to call a lawmaker, spread awareness about plastic litter on social media, decrease your own personal use of single use plastic, pick up litter, and vote for candidates who are dedicated to our environment.  

Anything else you want to say about your new shades?

I love my Danger Cat shades and get a lot of compliments on them!  

About the Electric x Surfrider Partnership

All Electric sunglasses sold featuring the OHM+ Polarized Blue or OHM Sky Blue Chrome lenses will share a portion of the proceeds with the Surfrider Foundation. Every pair sold directly supports the extensive team of Surfrider activists who are on the ground, cleaning up our beaches, fighting development, and monitoring water quality. Electric pledges to protect our environment through a number of their best looking sunglasses, get yours now and help save our oceans. Surfrider supporters, use code COASTALDEFENDER30 for 30% off the Surfrider collection. SHOP NOW