By Mike Gibaldi, Vice Chair, Surfrider Foundation Miami Chapter

We love to go to the beach to surf, swim, paddleboard, chill out with friends and family or just gaze upon beautiful Mother Ocean. We protect what we love, right?

The Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit grassroots organization, exists to protect YOUR beach. As our favorite playground, we want to make sure it is safe, clean and accessible for everyone, and stays that way, ALWAYS.

Interestingly, we are protecting it from ourselves. Wherever you live, work or play in Miami-Dade County, your actions are connected to the health of our local beaches. The storm drain on the street where you live takes the following gravity route or a shorter path if you live on the East side: storm drain -> canal ->  larger canal ->  Miami River ->  Biscayne Bay ->  YOUR beach.

Our indiscriminant use and disposal of plastics is damaging Miami’s ecosystem and ocean waters. PLEASE be careful how you consume goods and discard plastics, how you fertilize your yard, etc … because it’s all connected!

So how is Surfrider Miami connecting the dots? And why are we collaborating with Dream in Green?

Here’s a look at Surfrider’s local initiatives:

Rise Above Plastics (RAP): We work with local governments, businesses, and consumers to promote the reduction of single use plastics and polystyrene. We aim to ban or significantly curtail plastic bags in Miami-Dade County.

Beach access for general public: By law, Florida’s beaches are in the public domain. When private or special interests attempt to deny or restrict access for recreational beach goers and surfers, the Surfrider Foundation works with local government and through the legal system to ensure fair access to beaches while promoting safety.

Dune Restoration: Through volunteer efforts, grants and working through local government agencies, we are restoring the local beach dunes to their natural state which provides native habitats, and buffers our city from storm surge.

Anti-Litter Campaign: Ongoing efforts to reduce the SOURCE of litter in Miami. Please take our Pledge:

Educational Initiative: Provide environmental education related to the protection of oceans, waves and beaches to K-12 students in Miami-Dade County public schools. Surfrider volunteers bring engaging, interactive programming into classrooms, auditoriums and cafeterias. We help kids understand the hydrologic cycle in South Florida and demonstrate how their families’ consumption and disposal is connected to healthy beaches.

Education is where we connect with Dream in Green (DIG). Surfrider is excited to take part in DIG’s Green Schools Challenge program. We will be featuring Rise Above Plastics (RAP) in Your Neighborhood during November’s Waste Reduction and Recycling activities. We can’t wait to see these kids taking ocean-friendly consumption habits into their homes and neighborhoods.

We invite everyone to play with us at the beach and help protect it.

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Very fun (2.43 minutes)