by Wendy Gabriel
Vipe Desai is a member of the Surfrider Foundation’s national board of directors and the director of marketing for Monster Energy. Vipe has also been a lifelong supporter of environmental and humanitarian organizations. He volunteers his time and experience to the Surfrider Foundation, SIMA Humanitarian Fund and the Life Rolls On Foundation, to name a few.
How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?I really believe that it’s the miniscule things many overlook that make the big difference. I won’t claim to be the biggest eco-warrior on the planet, but I try to do my part.
When I’m leaving the beach, I usually pick up stray trash in my path and put it in garbage cans… better there than in the ocean. If I ever buy a drink in a plastic or metal container, I try to hold onto the empty until I’m around a recycling bin. When I’m at a fast food restaurant, I ask that they don’t put my order in a bag if I can carry it out on my own. Likewise, I make it a habit of only taking one or two napkins.
At home, I make it a habit to check that anything that can be unplugged when I leave, is unplugged. So many devices use power when not in use.
project BLUE is such a simple yet completely revolutionary initiative. How did the idea evolve?When I saw what was going on with (PRODUCT) RED, I thought it was a great idea and wondered how it could translate to the Surfrider Foundation, where I’m on the board of directors. The people at Surfrider do incredible work, not just for surfers, but for anyone that enjoys the beach and clean water. Similar to many non-profits, Surfrider could do so much more if they had additional funding. project BLUE gives people an easy way to help Surfrider any time they’re looking to upgrade their worn out gear.
The brands involved in project BLUE are a who’s who of surf. How did you convince Billabong, DAKINE, Electric Visual, Famous Wax, Nixon, O’Neill and Reef to partner together for this project?It was actually easier than you’d think! Many of these brands had eco-minded products in their lines already. They all realized that by coming together under the project BLUE initiative, they’d be a more powerful force to help build awareness of what each brand had going on.
The surf industry is pretty unique. While all of these brands compete on some level, we’re all friends in the water. Without clean oceans and beaches, there can be no surf industry.
Since part of the proceeds of project BLUE go to the non-profit Surfrider Foundation and the goal of project BLUE is to give surfers and beach lovers an easy way to plug into Surfrider’s mission to protect to the world’s oceans, waves and beaches. Can you elaborate on how Surfrider accomplishes their mission?Surfrider has more than 50,000 members in 80 chapters across the world. It’s a grassroots organization and each chapter executes a variety of activities, from beach cleanups and community outreach campaigns to water testing and campaigns that draw national attention.
Some campaigns, such as “Save Trestles” here in California or the “Protect Pupukea-Paumalu” in Hawaii, receive national attention, but there’s always something going on.
“Respect the Beach” is an award-winning educational program that includes field trips, classroom and hands-on lectures designed to explain shoreline ecology and conservation issues to students in kindergarten through high school. The program is taught by Surfrider members, who represent environmentalism from the surfer’s perspective and are easy role models for the students to relate to.