Jim Moriarty on the Everyday Activist

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.

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Jim Moriarty on the Everyday Activist

Jim Moriarty: I think what inspires me is the everyday activist. There’s a girl, 6-year-old Mackenzie Steiner. Her mom called me and she said, “Hey, I’d like you to come down and talk with Mackenzie and her friends,” and I’m “Well, I don’t do birthday parties. Who is this?” And she was “My daughter’s 6 years old and she’s hand writing invitations to her friends for beach cleanups.” And I went down there and I podcasted with Mackenzie. I’m sitting there. I have kids and- but I was sitting there listening to Mackenzie and I’m “Mackenzie, why-- Are you an environmentalist?” And she was just “I have no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t even know what that is.” And I’m “Well, it’s just someone who loves nature,” and she was “Yeah, I am absolutely that.” So why? And she’s looking at me strange and she’s like “Birds should just have clean air. Fish should have clean water. Well, these are just simple things,” like I’m the idiot. Those-- We have those stories every single day. A woman last night-- At 1 in the morning I got an e-mail from a woman in the Arizona Correctional Institution waxing on lyrically about the values of Surfrider Foundation. She actually-- She’s not a prisoner. She works in a state-run facility and she was talking about moving some of her money over- in an automatic withdrawal over to groups that she supports and Surfrider was one but hearing her talk about that is just-- That’s absolutely the joy of every single day.

Recorded on: 9/27/07