11 • 09 • 2022

Activist Spotlight: Erick Yoque With The Los Angeles Chapter

By Surfrider Foundation

Q: What is your current role with the Surfrider Foundation?

I am the Treasurer of the LA Chapter and an executive committee member.

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

I got involved with Surfrider in 2018 because I wanted to find a way to get involved in my community through issues that not only impacted my local community but also impacted others outside of that, while connecting with like-minded individuals.

Q: What are some environmental issues that are affecting your local community?

Ozone pollution, urban runoff, air quality, micro-plastic pollution across many different aspects of our everyday lives (food supply, beaches, etc.).

Q: What Surfrider projects have you worked on?

One Watershed, Hold On to Your Butts, Beach Cleanups, Blue Water Task Force

Q: Are there any specific projects that you have worked on which benefited your community?

Our One Watershed project has been something really great to be a part of. It has a huge impact on our community through the program’s ability to enable people who don’t have the privilege of readily available beach access to be able to enjoy our ocean here on the West Coast. Creating this link between beach access (even if it’s just for the day) can enable a different perspective on someone’s approach to sustainability as a whole. I believe enabling or reawakening that perspective, or just being able to enjoy the ocean, can personify the way we view our environment and allow us to care for it in a more gratifying way.

Also, being involved with the Hold On to Your Butts project was beneficial to our community through the simplicity of being able to prevent yet another cigarette butt from being thrown on the street and eventually hitting our beaches. 

Q: What has been the highlight of your Surfrider experience?

The highlight of my Surfrider experience so far has to be the people I’ve met, the way that people come together through tough times (like Covid) to continue to tackle environmental issues in any possible way, and being involved in the impact the organization has on communities throughout many parts of the world.

Q: Do you have any personal experiences or campaigns/issues that you’re passionate about where the social justice and environmental movements have intersected?

In my personal experience, everything we do at Surfrider has these two movements intersect, fair and equitable division of resources, opportunities, and privileges in society are part of why we do everything we do. From making sure that everyone has access to our beautiful local beaches through legislative advocacy to bringing people from the inner city to enjoy a beach day, it all intersects.

Q: What can Surfrider do to foster an inclusive and welcoming experience? 

To create a more welcoming experience for volunteers, Surfrider could do more in the sense of inclusivity through simple things like trying to reach out to different volunteers in different languages or creating marketing material in different languages, etc.

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

That the sense of community among everyone is amazing.

Q: Why is being a part of the Surfrider ocean conservation community important to you?

It’s important to me because the ocean has done so much for me and has given a lot to me in many different ways and it’s a way to give back to that.