Central Long Island Chapter
Long Beach, NY
Volunteer since 2013
Hurricane Sandy had a profound impact on my son's and my life because we live on a slender barrier island surrounded by ocean and bay waters. After the storm I decided I had to not only take more personal responsibility for my own footprint here on this planet, but step up and help make larger scale change happen too. As a single mother, I spend a lot of time directly educating my young son about environmental issues and one day I asked him what is the one thing he would change about the world if he was in charge. He quickly answered "get rid of all plastic bags." Even though I've been an environmentalist for over a decade, I began to educate myself much more deeply about the devastating effects plastic pollution is having on our environment, then sought out organizations who were already active in this cause. This is how I found Surfrider's Rise Above Plastics campaigns and then fell in love with the rest of the Surfrider mission too.
The most pressing issue that I've been involved with since joining the Central Long Island Surfrider chapter has been our fight against a Liquified Natural Gas port proposed right off our shores. I believe it is paramount for the environment that we work tirelessly toward renewable energy solutions and away from fossil fuels so the idea of creating more dirty natural gas infrastructure in our back yard/ocean is truly absurd. Our chapter also does a lot of beach and bay cleanups since we are surrounded by water and, sadly, much of it is polluted. There are also new local efforts to pass a Reusable Bag Ordinance in the city of Long Beach, my son's dream coming true little by little! It is so sad to see plastic checkout bags washed up in the high tide lines or blowing around our dunes and bays. We must change this.
This year our chapter coordinated a successful Hands Across the Sand event with several other local environmental organizations and a well-attended International Coastal Clean-up event. We've partnered with local SUP rental companies Kostal Paddle and Skudin Surf to do numerous bay cleanups this year too and our Central Long Island Chapter came in 3rd place in Surfrider's annual membership drive. It's been an amazing year!! Our efforts yielded a victory on the fight against the LNG port and now we remained focused on getting plastic single-use bags banned in Long Beach.
The highlight of my Surfrider experience has been threefold: 1) seeing how proud my son has been of me and our efforts 2) getting to work with amazing like-minded people in my community, knowing we are all making a difference together and 3) meeting Jack Johnson in person who selflessly uses his music tours as a massive vehicle for environmental awareness; he's just amazing.
I tell people that Surfrider is for everyone. The oceans and beaches give us all life, regardless of how they factor into our everyday existence. Some of us recreate there every day while others use them for sustenance or for economic livelihood. We all depend on our oceans so profoundly but many people just don't understand this.