AFTER COVID19: DON’T MISS THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRANSFORM OUR SOCIETY

02/06/20

30 years ago, angry surfers created Surfrider Europe with a practical vision: protecting, safeguarding and enhancing the oceans and the entire population that benefits from them from harmful human activity and tend towards a society at peace with nature. After 30 years of fierce struggle, many victories were won and the fight still ongoing. Sadly, the development of human activity kept going further and further, damaging each day the fragile balance between humankind / nature. While sanitary crisis regularly hit different parts of the world, this unprecedented pandemic is another symptom of the wrongdoing of this model of society. Do we want to accept this society as the only option, or do we want to consider it as obsolete and try to change it?

Beyond an unfathomable sadness, we were overcome by anger at this dramatic situation and its terrible consequences reflecting the fragility of humankind: countless deaths and human sufferings, lack of liberties which are unacceptable in the long term. Without a shadow of a doubt, these restrictions allowed to protect ourselves and let nature, as we could read it, “heal”. But nature does not have to heal, humankind must regain its place with humility and respect, the only way to guaranty a free and healthy life in the long term. This is the path that we, at Surfrider, wish to follow. What history taught us, current news reminds us: Nature can go on without Humankind, as she did for millions of years, however Humankind cannot exist without Nature, if we destroy it, we destroy ourselves.

This fight, Surfrider knows it well, and has been fighting it for 30 years, and is needed now more than ever by everyone, especially our institutions and political stakeholders. Unfortunately, the first signals sent by our governments and economic leaders in this recovery period are disappointing at best and alarming and dangerous at worst. Their calls to restart a climaticide short termed economic activity lock us in an obsolete vision of the world, one that is incoherent and dangerous for the different ecosystems and Humankind. Why such a regressive strategy? Out of economic or political interest? Or out of fear of change?

We cannot let this happen! Surfrider, as an NGO, as a legitimate and organized part of the civil society, must act. We are pursuing our ingoing influence actions with political and economic stakeholders, but, true to our non-profit organization roots, we stay faithful to our community, our supporters, members, donors and volunteers for this clarity to emerge which will guide us towards an indispensable positive change.

This field mobilization must, in the medium and long term, enable the rise of a new model of society and carry a precise plaidoyer to transform our economic model. Here are its main principles and we invite all of you to spread it, promote and defend them.

  Promote a society allowing us to live together and reconcile Humankind and Nature

This unpresented global crisis and its many faces cruelly reveal the man-created imbalances caused by its endless exploitation of nature instead of living in harmony with it. Humankind does its best to manage this crisis and treat its symptoms as best as it can. For a better future, we want to sustainably reinvent our model of society.

Our project’s main axis is obvious to us: it must be focused on Humankind place WITHIN Nature. This is the basis of our identity, of our DNA, this is what have been guiding us for the last 30 years in our fights and actions.

In addition to our political line focused on marine stakes, we are dedicated on defending and promoting a necessary paradigm change to create a society where we can all live together. This change is based on the following points:

A balanced and humble ecosystem approach of our planet:

Humankind is part of Nature. It is not separate; it does not live above it and cannot pretend to dominate it. We must find our place within Nature while respecting its diversity and riches. Human activity must always think in terms of non-regression ecology, prevention and caution.

The Ocean is the source of life, a regulator in the climatic machine, our blue lung and must be at the heart of this project.

This new relationship with nature will create new riches: biodiversity knowledge, understanding of our patrimonies and cultures, social connection. This new balance will improve wellbeing and health.

An economic model focused on the common good:

This renewal will go foremost by the emergence of an economic model in which financial and material gains will not be an end in itself anymore. The economy must be dedicated to our fundamental needs, the ones of a free and fair society, and a protected environment which guarantee the health and survival of Humankind and all ecosystems.

This economy will be circular, sober, functional and dedicated to the common good.

A fair, resilient and sober society :

This new society, which we will choose together, will require changes in our collective and personal lives that can only be accepted if they make sense. These changes can only be applied towards a common goal understood by all.

We must take the time to propose this new model of society. One that will be sober, just, resilient, transformative, attractive and that everyone will want to be a part of, before we determinate the relinquishment required by this choice.

This citizen movement has already started. The only good thing coming out of this crisis will be the highlight of the ability to adapt, resilience and incredible solidarity of our citizens. We will have to maintain this dynamic and reinforce solidarity to avoid a social scission that would divide citizens.


Surfrider is taking a stand and reaches out to its community

With our historical partners such as the Ocean and climate platform, the “Break Free from Plastic” coalition or in cooperation with concerned European sports federations, we are continuing our lobbying fight with political stakeholders to carry these 5 major transformations in our society:

  • Establish the Ocean-Biodiversity-Climate nexus at the heart of public politics and researches for our future
  • Reduce waste, especially plastic, entering the water cycle at its origin
  • Reduce chemical and bacteriological pollutions in water at its sources to protect the ecosystem and the health of water sports users.
  • Decarbornate our economy by stopping the harvest of fossil fuels at sea and accelerate ecological transition in international marine shipping
  • Switch the course of the European economy for a just, transparent finances and fiscality focused on the protection of human and natural assets.

We will keep on researching as to legitimate our convictions and carry them to the highest level.

We will continue our awareness raising actions to help grow the civic lucidity needed for a real change.

We will mobilize our resources and expertise to support everyone, who like us, are working on the field.

However, this associative involvement will not be enough, nothing can happen without the involvement of our citizens. Each one of us have the power to change things, be it through our daily lives, our way of buying or travelling but also through our involvement and associative or political activism, our actions and of course our votes on every level, local, national or European.

Defend these values, these principles, this vision with us. This change of paradigm, this new society cannot happen without you or a healthy ocean. We know that we can rely on your vigilance and unfailing commitment or activism to reinforce our shared position as whistleblowers and our fieldwork to create this change.

The Ocean is at the heart of our lives, by protecting it, we are protecting ourselves. We must commit to its protection with all our strength and heart.

Similar articles

08/06/20

“Just One Thing” : Protecting the Ocean starts with one simple act

During this complex time, it is clear now more than ever, that we need to transform our society, to chang...

read more
03/02/20

Blue manifesto : 10 years to save the ocean

10 years, that's the deadline given by 102 environmental organizations, among which Surfrider Europe, to ...

read more

our values

PASSION

The passion for the oceans, the coastline and the pleasures animate everyone who supports Surfrider and guides the organization's action.

SHARING

Surfrider is rooted in the value of sharing and participation through inclusion and diversity.

RESPECT

Surfrider seeks a harmonious relationship between humans and nature.