Politics and surf – if you believe the average Stab commenter, these are things that simply do not mix.
Like oil and water. Gum and sweaters. Booties and piss.
But is that really the case? Are surferstruly that divided when it comes to our policy preferences?
And even if the answer is yes, which it very well could be, why should we be afraid to discuss such important matters amongst others in the surf community? Is surfing such a “safe space” that matters of extreme environmental importance can’t so much as be mentioned without others scoffing in incredulity, as if you’d broken some sacred rule?
That’s kind of silly, right?
On the eve of Election Day, we posted a story called “Let’s Get Partisan:A Surfer’s Guide To Election Day” which served to inform our readership of candidates whose platforms at least partially involved the ocean or other environmental factors. Whether readers considered these issues while in the voting booth will never be known, but we figured it can never hurt to provide people with a little extra info.
The top-rated comment on that piece, from a man called Peter, reads: “Shut up, Stab. Stay in your lane (your lane is poorly written articles about surfing, not politics).”
Before that, we ran another piece on our site titled, “Are Our Favorite Surf Spots Doomed?”, which detailed the devastating effects of global climate change (both on our planet and favorite surf spots) and broke down the sociopolitical factors that have made the IPCC’s current predictions an unavoidable reality.
While readers were generally positive toward this piece, there were also plenty of criticisms and a direct message to our Instagram that read: “Stick to burnout surf articles and not politics. Can’t wait to ride the red wave next week!”
That piece concluded with a survey, which allowed readers to share their opinions on the topic of climate change, among other environmentally-related issues.
In spite of several “climate-hoaxing” comments and one unsavory DM, we found the results of this survey surprising and, quite frankly, validating of our efforts to promote environmental awareness.
Please see below:
We used this question to determine what percentage of our respondents were American (44%), as most of the stats used in the article were U.S. specific.
This massive number of believers (90%) can be compared to the 70% of general Americans who believe in climate change as defined by 97-99% of climate scientists.
A majority (53%) of responders care more about climate change now that they know it will specifically affect global wave quality, which means that our article made an empirical difference in cultural mentality.
Most Stab readers (73-93%) are convinced of the significant impact that global climate change will have on the planet and our very species.
The vast majority (82%) believe that fossil fuels — a major contributor to the climate issue — should be used as little as possible, if at all.
Nearly all respondents (96%) believe that renewable resources like wind and solar — which are much less harmful to the environment than fossil fuels — should be used as much as possible, if not always.
The vast majority of respondents (87%) believe the government should play a role in the climate issue, which means regulating individuals’ and businesses’ use of climate-harming products.
Which is why it’s important that Stab, as a surf news and culture site, highlights the issues that our oceans face and provides info on candidates who are promising to help that particular issue.
We hope that these results give you, like they did us, a sense of hope in this dire environmental situation. Chances are, the guy next to you in the lineup cares about the Earth’s health too.