The ocean, the sea and the seashore: spaces needing protection

All along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coast, the Surfrider Europe Foundation carries out many projects to protect the seashore and the ocean, with the assistance of a vast network of volunteers. It is launching an ambitious training program today in order to professionalize its teams and to raise the awareness of the mass public more effectively.

Environment and Biodiversity

Marseille, France

Thierry Witkowicz

€60,000 to the Selection Committee at 2010/03/30

Project leader

Surfrider Foundation

"Surfrider is a nonprofit that is very active in our area, with a broad network of observers who really do an outstanding job in monitoring pollution. Their efforts to raise awareness of the protection of resources, of the marine environment and of the shoreline, truly merit our support. We are working with them in this area and we want to go even further."

Thierry Witkowicz

5,000 members, 1,000 active volunteers, and 15,000 sympathizers across Europe. Since its creation in 1990, the Surfrider Europe Foundation has succeeded in developing a vast network to perform the mission that it has set itself: "save, upgrade and manage the ocean, seashore and surrounding population in line with the principles of sustainable development". On the model of its American forerunner, launched in 1986 by surfers, Surfrider Europe works in the field to preserve these spaces and to fight the pollution generated by maritime transport and the gentrification of the seashore. The organization of events, media presence, education and training programs, counseling for companies and institutions in their sustainable development approaches: it works all of these levers, also takes legal action, and uses lobbying potential without hesitation.

Its headquarters have always been in Biarritz, but it has branches on all the European coasts, and has created regional agencies in Brest, Toulouse, Bilbao and San Sebastian (Spain), and also in Marseille for the Mediterranean zone. How to pool the creative energies spread over such a vast perimeter? How to supply everyone with appropriate tools, to reinforce the impact of their actions? To meet these challenges, Surfrider Europe is launching a two pronged training campaign in 2010.

A complete system and new educational supports


The first aspect is training via Internet and intranet to mobilize the headquarters and the regional agencies, to extend the skills of the field crews everywhere and all year round. And in addition, Surfrider staff will go out to meet them in order to spread the best practices, as part of a tour of the local branches organized in three sessions: Northern Europe, Atlantic zone, Mediterranean zone. Marseille will also host the pilot of a new exhibition aimed at the mass public. Called "From the Mountains to the Sea", it will be organized around four themes: the ocean planet, the water cycle and water pollution, the lifetime of waste and recycling, and water treatment. The grant from the Veolia Foundation concerns the whole system. It will be invaluable in designing the educational module devoted to water treatment, which Surfrider Europe sorely needed.

Faced with the importance of these subjects and their closeness to the vocational principles of Veolia Environnement, it has already planned to display this exhibition in the premises of the company, to intensify employee awareness of these issues.