The ocean makes up more than 70 percent of Earth’s surface and is a necessity to our survival, but humans have taken advantage of the calm waters and triggered a wave of climate change. The UNF chapter of Surfrider club held its first general meeting on Feb. 4 at the Ecoadventure center. The club stems from the national nonprofit organization Surfrider that is dedicated to protecting the oceans through a “powerful network”. Though the club is new this year to UNF, advocating for a healthier environment is not.
Student Government Senator and the co-student coordinator for Ecoadventure, Catherine Selin is a huge advocate for changing the state of the climate and oceans.
“Why a club like Surfrider is so important, especially to this generation, is because an amazing thing is happening that’s never really quite happened before,” Selin said. “One could argue that environmental awareness started in the 70s, really picked up in the 90s and now this kinda new wave of environmental awareness is happening but the thing I think that is so important about this one is how strong it is.”
According to an article on National Geographic, 2018 marked the oceans hottest year which leads to a number of consequences like sea-level rise and frequent storms.
“We are treating our oceans like a garbage can,” Selin said. “The way we treat our oceans definitely needs to change, that same respect that we have for our national parks we need to give to our oceans.”
Selin is also the student advisor for the Surfrider club on campus and sees the potential in this generation to change the state of our oceans.
“Making sure that the younger generations are educated in environmental awareness and how important it is to keep the environment clean for the survival of humans, If we keep that knowledge in with our younger generations then it’ll grow as they grow and they will continue to pass it down if it is part of their core knowledge,” Seline said.
Surfrider club president Emily Barrett and Vice President Jordan Leone have plans for the club that aim to tackle all the wasteful ways of living. The club has activities planned like beach clean ups every month, turning shirts into tote bags and even partnering up with Ecoadventure to get surf lessons.
“Students can gain so many things out of this club, such as knowing how much trash is accumulated around our beaches and campus,” Barrett said. “Little steps in the right direction can make a big difference in our environment.”
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