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How many countries?

October 19 2008 | Jim's Blog,
by Jim

Ok, so it wasn't a very hard question.

That said, I'm a bit shocked at the answers to this poll.

I thought people saw Surfrider Foundation as limited to a few countries. I was wrong, very wrong. It seems like everyone has a sense of our scope.

It's always good to be wrong in instances where the truth makes you feel better than being right...

Our mission is being promoted and pushed in more than 15 countries.

You may be asking why "more than 15" and not an exact number?

The answer is that our mission is an idea more than it is anything else.

It's an idea that oceans should be clean, waves should be protected, beaches should be accessible. That mission is represented in many parts of the globe. My guess is that it's being represented in over 25 countries around the globe (under a banner of something closely resembling our logo).

Just a few months ago I was in El Salvador with a friend. We connected after he had spent a few days at a nearby hostel. He mentioned "I didn't know you guys were in El Salvador" and I replied "Neither did I." He had seen a brochure of some sort with a Surfrider El Salvador name/logo on it.

The truth is that in the past people have taken to our mission, seen the need for it to be applied locally, and ran with it.

This is where I say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I understand that... and yet we can't truly grow this movement without connecting the dots and making sure that we're all in synch with the same mission.

In the past few years we've invested a notable amount of time, energy, resources and money to get our heads around this issue. We did this for the obvious reason that if one doesn't know the variables they can't engage with them and make sure our mission is being represented accurately. We also engaged with these entities to connect them to the larger network.

This week we're kicking off our annual International Conference. Surfrider Brazil is hosting it in Buzios, Brazil. Representatives from seven countries will be there. The agenda is formed around sharing campaigns and strategies from around the globe. If Hold onto your butt works in San Diego, why wouldn't it work in Mar Del Plata, Argentina?  Turns out, it does (and is).

Perhaps this question was too easy... so I've replaced it with one that is harder... (in the upper right of page)... what's more important, the economy or the environment? (asked within a wildly gyrating set of global stock exchanges).
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