I didn’t have a chance to jot it down because I was too busy slapping the obnoxious smirk off my face, but what I thought I heard from Surfrider
Foundation Milwaukee Chair Eric Gietzen at an Earth Day event was, “when people connect with the beauty and adventure they find in and on the water, they fall in love with the lake; once they love the lake, it's easy to ask them to help save it.”
While my own version of this statement has shapeshifted since starting Lake Effect Co., the main components have stayed the same: beauty, adventure, community, support. My approach to support has been: let’s get the first three to naturally compel people to want to protect the water (or at least do it no further harm). Since I can’t tell if that’s what’s happening, I’ll create products that inspire a purchase, and we’ll just take the support we receive and give 5% back to the water. Lake Effect Co. previously donated 5% of its proceeds to the Alliance for the Great Lakes, and starting this month, we’re fortunate to announce that we are switching our 5% donation to the Surfrider Foundation - Milwaukee. In the Surfrider Foundation, I found an organization that shares my personal goals, but also those of Lake Effect Co. It seemed a natural fit to align with them. We chatted, they were in, it felt right. If you know me, you know I’m fairly woo, and the term “alignment before action” is a big part of how I operate, so to find something like this in my business feels right - like really big things could happen. The Surfrider Foundation is known globally for protecting shorelines -- keeping them safe and healthy enough for people to enjoy them. The Surfrider Foundation consists of everyday people protecting the waves and shores that are their playground and in Milwaukee, it’s no different.
Milwaukee is known for a lot of things, but it isn’t well-known for its surfing. Many don’t even realize you can catch a wave on Lake Michigan’s waters. But Great Lakes surfing is a thing. In Milwaukee, it’s real, and those at the core of this scene are fiercely protective over the waters they love. This community of lake-lovers got together because they love the sport and they realized that if they ignored the human impact to the lake, they and others may not be able to experience its best qualities. So, the Milwaukee chapter was founded, and through events like Surf @Water, their primary fundraiser, the Surfrider Foundation is able to share its love of surfing and lake life with others, compelling them to take action in whatever way feels true for them: surf, swim, donate, or call a congressperson. Top Surfrider Campaigns in the Great Lakes
Quick & Easy Tips
- Think twice before reaching for a straw. Need one? Invest in a metalalternative or ask your favorite restaurants to start offering paper or corn straws. Not only do plastic straws take forever to break-down, but they’re extremely dangerous to wildlife.
- Water preservation. Don’t run the water when you’re brushing, scrubbing, doing dishes, etc. Take shorter showers.
- Stop depending on single-use products. Like any other habit, it just takes some extra thought and preparation. Once you’re used to bringing your own containers (or, pro-tip, sit down and enjoy your food or bev “for-here” instead of always being on the run. What’s the rush?) Keep an extra thermos or water bottle in your car.
- Dispose of waste properly: recycle and compost what you can. Rinse out your plastic food containers and choose the recycle bin instead of the trash - it only takes a second! We also believe there’s a special place in you-know-where for people who intentionally litter!
- Avoid using chemical fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn. There are natural alternatives, and really, what are you trying to prove with that perfect lawn? Feel free to relax about it.
Ways to Get Involved
- Make a donation to the Milwaukee Chapter of Surfrider Foundation: https://www.surfrider.org/support-surfrider
- Join Surfrider and the community August 4, 2018 at the 6th Annual Surf @Water at Atwater Park. A celebration of Great Lakes surf culture on the beach in Shorewood, WI.
- Get in the water often - when you spend time in the water, you’ll find a natural instinct to change wasteful or harmful daily habits. Understand that a change in your daily habits CAN positively impact larger issues. Find a community, or even one friend, who is or wants to make conscious changes to their daily lives too. The collective is powerful. Made a change you’re proud of? Educate someone else on how easy it can be to make a switch.
- Shop Lake Effect Co!
As mentioned above, starting July 17th, 5% of all site sales go to Surfrider Foundation - Milwaukee, which means we’re injecting funds into a highly impactful organization that all lake-lovers can feel good about. While the organization receiving 5% of our proceeds has changed, our heart has not: we’re still full of love for the beauty and adventure we find at the lake, and we’re fiercely dedicated to doing our part to ensure our lakes have the support they need. Thank you to the Alliance for the Great Lakes for all you do, and a HUGE note of appreciation to all of you opening your wallets to purchase Lake Effect gear. Your purchases are allowing me to give generously to lake-supporting organizations. You are making an impact. All photos courtesy of Ryan Bigelow Photography
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