The focus of this year’s event supports the Chapter’s Rise Above Plastics Campaign, designed to boost awareness of how oceans polluted with single-use plastic can have a troubling impact on the life of everyone across the planet.
I was lucky enough to learn more about this event first-hand from Haley Jain Haggerstone, who for the last three years has been the Chapter’s coordinator. In my interview below, Haley shares what she hopes every attendee will learn at this event – and what she knows every attendee will experience.
Within this post, I’ve also included links for those not in the San Diego area to donate online.
This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the Paddle for Clean Water event, hosted by the Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter. How has this event grown in the last few years?
2013 marked a real evolution in this event in that we’ve now set-up online fundraising platforms, similar to other charity events such as Race for the Cure. With these platforms, everyone can set-up their own page that they can share with family and friends to make it easier to ask for donations. We even help to encourage these donations with prizes and giveaways, for instance, raising $50 will get you a free T-Shirt from the event.
Over the last couple years, we’ve also added live music on the beach to this event – adding a lot more energy and helping attract ocean and beach lovers that may not want to dip into the water.
Your Rise Above Plastics campaign, helping to raise the awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution in the marine environment, will be the focus of this year’s event. What was behind your chapter’s selection of plastic pollution as a focus this year?
Plastics are a huge and growing concern for our oceans, illustrated by phenomena including the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (Ed. Note: a gyre of marine debris and pollution in the central North Pacific Ocean extending over an indeterminate area.) The fundamental concern with plastic is that it just doesn’t break down over time, meaning that if it’s not recycled, it’s likely to wind up in the world’s beaches and seas.
I should stress that this cause is not anti-all plastic. Every day I drive a plastic car and use a plastic phone, after all. What we are speaking out against is single-use plastic. Single use plastic, from take-out containers to plastic bags, represent items we could very comfortably live without, based on alternatives available.
In fact, there is a lot of current momentum in communities – nationwide – to move towards single-use plastic bag bans – and we felt the best way we could help to support this ban would be to rally our own troops around this cause.
WaterFilters.NET strives to connect what we do to improving the world as a whole, for instance, donating a portion of the profits from every water filter sale to water-based charities. How would you describe the connection between the clean water issues facing southern California, with the clean water issues facing the world?
Geography 101, all water is shared and recycled. The water we drink and the fish we eat come from the same place, wherever we live. If you look at our oceans in particular, boundaries and borders are irrelevant in terms of pollution.
In San Diego, we’re very aware of cross-border water pollution issues on the US/Mexico border. If you look at the watershed, it’s actually shared across both countries. The issues facing US and Mexico can be applied to nearly any countries across the world that share borders with oceans and seas.
For those that attend Sunday’s event, what is the one message that you hope everyone leaves with?
We want everyone to leave with a greater level of awareness of the issues facing our world’s clean water supply.
Sunday is part non-violent protest, part visual statement that there are thousands in the San Diego area that care about the clean water issues that matter to every American – and really, every human being.
Full disclosure, I am writing this from Minnesota, meaning I may not be able to accurately describe just how cool this event is going to be in a way that our California readers would properly understand. In your own words, what will make Sunday’s event one that should not be missed?
There will never be another time and place where you will see 1,000 ocean lovers paddling out at once – from groms to grey hairs to everyone in between. Sunday will represent one collective vision for clean water that can only be truly understood by seeing first-hand the sheer impact of so many people paddling out at once and collectively coming around the north side of the pier.
It’s one big shared experience – and it’s one big fiesta.
The 22nd Annual Paddle for Clean Water will be hosted at Ocean Beach Pier, 5091 Niagara Avenue in San Diego, starting at 9am this Sunday. You can RSVP now on the Paddle for Clean Water Facebook page.
I encourage you to visit Haley’s page on StayClassy prior to this event and join our company in making a donation to the Surfrider Foundation.
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