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Coastal Currents - #BlackLivesMatter, Chumash Sanctuary Action Alert and more

Greetings California Coastal Defenders!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks and we’d like to give you the wrap up on what we’ve been working on!

First and foremost, we were devastated by the brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. As an organization, we’ve been reflecting on how we can best support the black community and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. We released a policy statement where we’ve reinforced our commitment to elevating our social justice partners voices and become an authentic ally over the long haul.

We recognize that this moment is tragic and poignant but this is not a singular occurrence. It is a result of a systemic racism that has been operating for hundreds of years. There is no quick fix, we recognize we have a lot to learn, and we are committed to these efforts for the long term.

You’ve likely seen Black Girls Surf (@blackgirlssurf) founder and Surfrider San Mateo Volunteer Coordinator, Rhonda Harper, in the news lately as the organizer of multiple paddle-outs around the world. The events honor the life of George Floyd and other African Americans killed by police, and are meant to open dialogue about pain caused by continued racial inequalities. As Rhonda explained to the Associated Press, “There’s a lack of awareness and empathy in the surf community when things like this happen,” Harper said. “I have a lot of white surf friends who don’t get it or are so privileged that they don’t have to mourn the loss of a black life. They’re talking about waves being beautiful and there being too much negativity in the world.” Read our full blog post here for more on this!

In other news, Surfrider staff and activists  participated in the June Coastal Commission meeting which took place this week, June 10-12. We’ll have a comprehensive update next week! One of the items we participated in did make the news! -

Jennifer Savage, California policy manager for the Surfrider Foundation, said during the meeting the homeowners encroached on the public beach “with a sense of entitlement most of us would be hard-pressed to fathom.” Savage said some of the illegal yards extended as much as 80 feet onto the beach. [LINK SoCal Homeowners Fined $1.7 Million for Encroaching on Beach]

ACTION ALERT: Don’t delay, there are only three days left to support the Chumash National Marine Sanctuary Nomination!

Submit a comment before June 15th to support the nomination of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary nomination! Follow the directions below or visiting our campaign page, link in bio. ~ Go to the federal register and search for “Review of Nomination for Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary.”

~ Click on “Comment Now”

~ State that you are responding to Criteria #7, identify where you live, what group(s) you are active with, and that you support the sanctuary nomination.

~ In your own words, speak to your personal experience with these coastal waters, and their ecological, cultural, recreational, economic or archaeological significance. Emphasize the need to conserve and manage these coastal resources to protect them from potential threats.

Sample comments: To Whom It May Concern, I am responding to Criteria #7. As a resident of XXXPLACE, and an active member of the Surfrider Foundation (list other relevant groups), I support the sanctuary nomination. The waters off Central California are some of the most productive, culturally significant, and biologically diverse on the West Coast. In the last five years, pressure on California’s marine environment has only increased with threats of offshore oil and gas development, seabed mining, climate change, and more. With the designation of this sanctuary, the Chumash Nation and local communities could work with federal and state partners to protect this vital stretch of coastal and marine waters, and stimulate marine research, education, stewardship, recreation and tourism. Insert personal note (optional).

Click here to comment!

New Protect & Enjoy podcast episode out looking at racism and environmental justice within our activist world, plus Staff Scientist Katie Day with a shark vs squid story.

Last but not least – keep up do speed with us on our weekly podcast!! Here’s the latest episode. Check it out!