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01 • 13 • 2021

Activist Spotlight: Ruta Jordans with the Kaua’i Chapter

By Surfrider Foundation

Q: What is your current job or role?

Coordinator of the Ocean Friendly Restaurants (OFR) program for Kauai Chapter of Surfrider Foundation

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

Before moving to Kauai, when I lived in Lubec, Maine, I organized beach cleanups and wanted to enroll our restaurants, which were passionate against plastic use, in the OFR program. Unfortunately, the program was not ready yet then. As a result, when I moved to Kauai I was happy to see that there was an established OFR program and signed up to help.

Q: What are some local issues that are affecting your ocean, waves and beaches?

  1. Being the closest of the larger Hawaiian Islands to the North Pacific gyre, our beaches  constantly are inundated with miles-long fishing nets and other plastic debris from the “garbage patch.”
  2. Most of the population and thus the roads on Kauai are on the flatter, coastal plain part of the island, making it especially vulnerable to sea level rise.

Q: What Surfrider projects have you worked on?

Ocean Friendly Restaurants, a pau hana and beach cleanups, as well as banning polystyrene on Kauai.

Q: What has been the highlight of your Surfrider experience (i.e., campaign, program, victory)?

Last year, the County of Kauai Council was considering a bill to ban polystyrene (similar bills had been rejected in the past). Along with Barbara Levin, our new social media coordinator, we developed a webpage updating the history and status of the bill, opportunities to testify,  and informing how to submit testimony. Through our social media and email outlets we urged people to stay updated through that page as to when they could make a difference.  The councilors commented on the quantity and passion of the letters they received, acknowledging that they definitely influenced passage of the bill.

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

Many organizations talk a lot but accomplish little. The Surfrider Foundation’s focus is on organized campaigns to achieve progress.

Q: Why are you a Surfrider coastal defender (or why is being a Surfrider coastal defender important to you)? 

Knowing that plastic, with its harmful effects on life, is in our oceans, water and air, and the  dangers of climate change to our oceans, especially the coast, how could I not be involved in an organization actively working on those issues?

Q: Anything else? 

The Executive Committee of the Kauai Chapter of Surfrider Foundation constantly impresses me with their knowledge, determination, and ability to effect change. They are a force to be reckoned with and I am proud and humbled to be a part.