U Learn 2.0, Episode 3: Climate Change – Sanuk®

With Coastal Preservation Manager, Stefanie Sekich-Quinn

Our ocean and coasts are at the center of climate change, so to learn more about it, how Surfrider is working to address it, and what we can do as individuals to help, we asked Surfrider’s Coastal Preservation Manager, Stefanie Sekich-Quinn to break it down for us. Here’s the top 10 ways Stephanie say we can do our part: 

  1. Drive less and opt for biking or using mass transit wherever possible.
  2. Plant an Ocean Friendly Garden to help trap greenhouse gases in the soil right in your own yard. Learn how here!
  3. Buy less plastic. Plastic is made from petroleum products (i.e. fossil fuels) and take a tremendous amount of energy to create and dispose of. It is estimated that 29% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions result from the manufacturing and final disposal of plastic goods. Learn more about plastic pollution here.
  4. Upgrade your light bulbs. Replace incandescent light bulbs with more efficient fluorescent or LED lights. 
  5. Monitor your thermostat. Not too high and not too low! Weatherproof your home to reduce drafts and air leaks by caulking, using insulation and weather stripping to save energy. 
  6. Eat locally-produced food and cut down on meat. 13% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are directly related to food production, transportation and disposal. 
  7. Cut down on water usage. Water use is energy intensive.
  8. Find ways to reuse and upcycle any used materials you can.
  9. Consider low-carbon options when purchasing a new vehicle and opt for solar powering your home if possible.
  10. Help influence policy change. Get involved in your local community by finding your local Surfrider chapter here!

So Stefanie, now that we know how we can do our part to fight climate change, let’s dig a little deeper. What is climate change and how is it impacting our ocean and coastlines?

Pollutants known as “greenhouse gases” (GHGs) are absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere and act like a “heating blanket” which causes global warming that subsequently leads to massive changes in the climate (i.e. climate change).  Our ocean and coasts are at the center of climate change with the ocean absorbing 90% of the heat trapped in the atmosphere and 30% of carbon released in the air.  Climate change affects everything from sandcastle building to surfing.  Sea level rise and increased storm activity, caused by climate change, will damage community infrastructure (homes, roads, municipal buildings, etc.) and will impact recreation. Swimming, surfing, diving, beach-going are already being impacted by climate change due to shrinking beaches, an increase in pollution from intense storms, coral bleaching and ocean acidification which kills marine life and reefs. 

Why is this important to address now? Will the negative impacts be seen in our lifetime? 

Climate change is important to address now because we are already seeing its impacts, such as extreme weather events, wide-spread fires, ocean acidification, record breaking temperatures for the earth and ocean, incremental sea rise, loss of coastal and marine habitat and shrinking beaches. The continued effects of climate change are only predicted to get much worse in the future so we must act now to help future generations. 

What is Surfrider doing to help tackle the issue, and how can individuals help support?

Surfrider’s work on climate change extends from local communities to the halls of Congress to: 

  1. Raise awareness about climate change impacts to the ocean and coasts and how people can be part of the solution.
  2. Mobilize our grassroots network to advocate for laws and policies that reduce greenhouse gases and help coastal communities adapt to climate change. 

To help, you can:

  1. Send a message to Congress urging them to take bold action on climate change!
  2. And check out our website for other action alerts related to climate change

For more information on climate change and to join Surfrider and Sanuk in taking action, check out:

  • Surfrider’s Coastal Blog here— to read more on climate change, click on the “Coastal Preservation” filter
  • Surfrider’s Climate Change Activist Toolkit here