Drew, thanks for joining us today! First (and very important) question - if you were an ice cream flavour, what would you be?
Hmmm something troppo, maybe Mango.
You have one of the coolest jobs in the world helping to protect the ocean through your connection to surfing. You have had a cool life and can count pro-surfer as one of your many interesting jobs, how did you get into becoming an ocean conservationist and activist?
As surfers we are immersed in our environment, so I don't really think it's a far stretch for us to become environmentalists. Basically the local coastline where I was raised was at risk from offshore oil & gas, so I stood up to protect it. I first joined the fight to stop PEP11, and now, I work with Surfrider Foundation Australia to continue to protect our coastlines and surf break. Right now in Australia, one of the biggest threats to the health of our oceans is fossil fuel exploration on our coastlines in Southern Sea County - the area spanning from SA, through VIC and right through to TAS.
Can you tell us a little about your connection to the ocean, and why this particular area called Save Southern Sea Country is so special?
I've spent most of my life in the ocean. From doing so I've developed a strong connection & relationship. With that connection comes appreciation & need to protect. The southern ocean as a surfer is just so raw & pure, with such rich marine biodiversity, swaying sea kelp & moody swells. The ocean here is wild and swells can get as large as 20ft - it’s a no brainer that swells of this size and danger don’t mix with oil rigs. It’s hard to believe that big oil & gas companies want to risk these beautiful coastlines and marine life like the endangered pygmy blue whales, which is why Surfrider are standing with the community to protect it.
Why do you think it's up to all of us to care about the ocean, especially areas that we might not ever go to or don't live right next to?
Absolutely, I believe we all have a part to play in ensuring that as we grow we preserve & look after our marine environment. Even if the issue isn't at your doorstep, the ocean is everywhere at once so it affects us all. There's places of rich biodiversity in the Southern Ocean such as the Bonnie Upwelling & the Great Southern Reef that play a vital role in keeping our oceans healthy, which in turn keep the planet healthy.
How can people who care about this get involved?
Firstly, using your voice to tell your local politicians that you want to see these areas protected is the most powerful tool you have. There is a letter and citizens declaration available on the Ben & Jerry's and Surfriders websites that only take a minute but will make a big difference in creating action and seeing this area protected.
We will be hosting a very special event series later in the year, so keep an ear out for that so you can join us as we come to your town or city along the East Coast of Australia. You can also follow Surfrider on social media to keep up to date with what’s going on.
Big mahalo to Drew who spends his time dedicated to protecting Southern Sea Country. You can join Drew and take action by sending your letter to your leader here! Want to know more? Keep up to date by following Surfrider socials here and check out their website here!
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