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.
Question: Has the environmental movement’s expansion diluted its mission?
Jim Moriarty: No. I don’t think that the growth of nonprofits and specifically environmental nonprofits has diluted Surfrider Foundation at all and I like- I love having more help anywhere we can get it. The more the merrier. It’s great. I think what is changing as I mentioned a while ago was a- was everything that happened in the ‘90s, all the technology. We can now in about 14 hours send 10,000 e-mails to government, Schwarzenegger, on an issue. We can send 20,000 e-mails to people in Chile. We can tap people. We can talk face to face all over the world using Skype. We do. Those things are radically shifting, the tool set, the capabilities and the power that is at the edge of the network of our culture. So all of a sudden you don’t have to be Rupert Murdoch buying the Wall Street Journal to have your hand on the joystick. You can be 10,000 people in Argentina. You can do this a lot of different ways as long as you understand and implement technology. One of my favorite things that just came out was a $99 video player that records on flash the size of a cell phone. They gave them away as freebies at this conference that I’m at right now, a very, very powerful tool.
Question: If British Petroleum is part of the movement, do you lose control over the message?
Jim Moriarty: No. I think something has shifted in the last 12 months which is radically different than it was before. It used to be that business was bad, government was slow, NGO, dash, enviros were good, they’re where all the smart people were, etc., and anything with a corporate brand was essentially bad. And what has happened in the last 12 months is that governments are still slow. I think they’ll always be slow. Business has flipped from one of their emotions to the other emotion and they only have two emotions, and the one emotion that they were in was fear. They didn’t understand the environment. They didn’t understand the cost of all these things and they do now. So you have Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy, amazing guy making amazing statements. Wal-Mart is making amazing strides, Dupont making amazing strides, so now they’ve flipped over to their other convenient emotion which is greed. Business has the capital; they have the reach; they have the infrastructure; they have the distribution channel to consumers. Business will drive the green movement. It’s also what Thomas Friedman is saying in his new kind of- green is the new red, white and blue. People are saying green is the new gold, etc., and it’s not as simple as that businesses are cashing in. That’s not the message at all. Businesses will cash in regardless. The point is that the globe is in a crisis mode, it’s red lining, and businesses cannot sustain their model unless they adapt and they are much quicker to adapt than a government, which we’re seeing all over the world.
Recorded on: 9/27/07