Activist Spotlight
April 30 2015

We are Grassroots, Bottom-up

Name: Brad Snook

Chapter: San Luis Obispo, California

Journey Began:  Member since 1994, Volunteer since 2004

Hi my name is Brad Snook, and I am Surfrider because… Our oceans, waves, and beaches are at risk, and Surfrider provides the support and tools to maximize the impact I can have in protecting these resources in San Luis Obispo County, and elsewhere.

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

I’m a surfer who values the mission and commitment of the Surfrider Foundation. I also fit into Surfrider’s grassroots, bottom-up organizational structure that allows the organization’s staff to work most effectively with chapter locals. I volunteer as an activist with Surfrider, and I’m a happy activist because Surfrider gives me the tools to remain effective in protecting and preserving our county’s oceans, waves, and beaches.

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

We have some beaches that occasionally exceed standards for unhealthy water quality in the dry season, frequently in the wet season.  We also have beaches that occasionally get trashed with litter, and some cities haven’t committed to addressing the root cause of these issues. Coastal armoring (i.e. seawalls) has the potential to destroy some of our local breaks. And, Diablo Canyon Power Plant’s Once-Through Cooling system serves as a continued and long-term threat to our ocean ecosystem.

What Surfrider projects have you worked on?

I’ve worked with our chapter activists, the community, and city and county leaders to improve signage regarding water quality, beach litter, or to protect beach access.

Our chapter’s long-term goal is “No Ocean Outfall.” I’ve worked to educate decision makers on the combined value of managed retreat (move sewage plants away from the coastal zone) with wastewater reclamation (re-use millions of gallons of water that are now dumped into the ocean).

As a Volunteer Coordinator and Chair for our chapter, I helped recruit intelligent, passionate activists to direct our Ocean Friendly Gardens, Rise Above Plastics, and Blue Water Task Force programs while serving as the leader of our Know Your H2O program.

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

A 2013 victory to stop High Energy Seismic Studies in our county waters was probably the highlight. The California State Lands Commission had authorized underwater cannon blasting of our local ecosystem. However, the entire Surfrider organization joined many others from around the world to prove the predicted damage to our ocean ecosystem was unwarranted and unnecessary, then the California Coastal Commission voted unanimously to deny P,G.&E their permit to conduct the studies.

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

Nobody likes a dirty beach or polluted water. With our membership or activism we serve to protect resources that everyone values, but we should never take for granted.