Are development and environmentalism compatible?

Jim Moriarty is the CEO of Surfrider Foundation. He is an avid surfer, entrepreneur and innovator. Moriarty has more than 15 years management experience in corporate start-ups, specializing in e-learning, e-commerce, infrastructure software, and business-to-business ventures. He holds a B.S. in Information Systems from The Ohio State University, and has had speaking engagements in the US, Europe, Australia and Latin America. He lives with his wife and two children in Solana Beach, CA, where he is also active leading and mentoring high school students on surfing and home-building trips to the Baja Peninsula. He brings to the position a wealth of international, fundraising and team-building experience that translate to leading the Surfrider Foundation.

  • Transcript


Question: Are development and environmentalism compatible?

Jim Moriarty: I think development and environmentalism are strange bedfellows. They have to get along but it’s pretty easy for them not to get along and I see so many examples where development happens in what I would subjectively just call in an unthoughtful way. Oh, here’s a sand dune in Florida. It’s only how much? Oh, sure, I’ll buy that. Yeah, I’ll put a McMansion here. What do you mean there’s a hurricane that comes through here every year? What? There’s not just one hurricane? There’s actually four hurricanes that come through here every year? I’ll build it anyway. What do you mean the insurance industry has pulled out because they’re not insuring this region? Build it anyway. So part of that for me almost borders on ignorance or stupidity or just too much wealth, but I believe that development and environmentalism can get along wonderfully if you’re seeing all the things that are happening kind of under the lead certification umbrella and just the big shift that people have in saying, “Hey, I can save money on my energy costs if I do this to my house,” and “Oh, I live in- near Duke Energy and they’re actually going to pay me to do some of these things so I don’t have to shell out $100,000 for solar panels. I can actually do it in a way that’s affordable to me.” That’s pretty cool.

Recorded on: 9/27/07