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If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there

September 13 2011 | Strategy, Activism,

It was English author Lewis Carroll who originally said “if you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.” This is especially interesting since it was also Lewis Carroll that wrote Alice in Wonderland, a story about anything but straight roads and a story that still confuses me, maybe that's intentional given the quote.

That same quote was recently cited, repeatedly, by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. It really resonated with me as last week EDF's Gernot Wagner published an Op-Ed in the NY Times entitled titled Going Green but Getting Nowhere. I was taken by its seemingly complete dismissal of the power of the individual. Surfrider's Chad Nelsen wrote a rebuttal to it here.

As I read Dick Costolo's state of the union for Twitter I was heartened to hear his focus come out as strongly as it did. I feel this issue every day. There is a seemingly endless line of people who want Surfrider Foundation do things that that they feel need to be done in a way that they feel Surfrider should shift to adopt.

We say no a lot.

We say no because we are focused.

Our strategic plan is among the cleanest, shortest and clearest I've seen. It says our core strategy is "engaged activism." That means that our strategy is NOT other things. That means that when we get options that take us away from that road we say "no thanks."

We know where we are going and how we are getting there.

Our destination is healthy coasts.

The way we are getting there is via engaged activism.

There are other ways a person, or an organization, can get to that same destination. We have chosen our road. We chose that road twenty seven years ago when we formed to fight to preserve Malibu's First Point.

I agree with Lewis Carroll and Dick Costolo.

Our focus is our strength.

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