Michael Stewart, Co-Founder, Sustainable Surf, SeaTrees, EcoBoard Project

If you ask Michael Stewart, he owes it all to the ocean – and art school. Michael is the co-founder of Sustainable Surf, whose SeaTrees, Ecoboard Project, and Ocean Positive programs highlight the need to reverse climate change and serve - for all of us - as onramps to living a more sustainable lifestyle.

Sustainable Surf was formed in 2011 when co-founders Michael Stewart and Kevin Whilden saw an opportunity to use the global appeal of surf culture to convince people that a more sustainable future is within reach. But, founding a nonprofit was a leap of faith, and before that, they both had good day jobs they had to convince themselves to leave to pursue this mission. 

Michael’s passion for the ocean and the lessons he’s learned from surfing come through loud and clear (and I think you’ll appreciate them). But, as a lifelong surfer, Michael points out that he was a part of the community seeing the early effects of climate change in the ocean, and that was pivotal in convincing him to take on the challenge.

Sustainable Surf takes an optimistic and solutions-focused approach but won’t shy away from the fact that there’s no time to waste. The global scientific consensus is clear - we have until  2030 to reduce our collective carbon footprint to avoid passing a catastrophic climate tipping point. 

An action-oriented organization, Sustainable Surf has planted & restored more than 3 Million sea trees, and helped define the sustainable surfboard movement. They’ve partnered with brands & companies (that you’ve likely heard of) well beyond just the “surf” industry, and if you ask him, they’re just getting started.

If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit, are building or working with a nonprofit, or are looking for ways to make an impact, you’ll want to hear Michael’s story and advice.

Here are some of the key takeaways from our talk:

  • Tapping into the power of surfing
  • The benefits of ocean ecosystems
  • Climate action - what you can do right now
  • Finding a business partner that complements your expertise
  • Why artists make the best entrepreneurs
  • Turning your idea into a reality
  • Taking it slow, nurturing your customer, building trust for the long-run
  • Running your non-profit like an ecommerce company
  • The power of storytelling
  • Life lessons you learn from surfing
  • Making a career out of what you love

SDG Alignment: #1 No Poverty, #2 Zero Hunger, #3 Good Health & Well Being, #4 Quality Education, #5 Gender Equality, #6 Clean Water & Sanitation, #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, #9 Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, #10 Reduced Inequalities, #13 Climate Action, #14 Life Below Water, #15 Life on Land



Be sure to check out our conversation with Tricia Carey, Chief Commercial Officer at Renewcell, makers of CIRCULOSE®  the 100% recycled raw material input for textile fibers: https://www.theunderswell.com/podcasts/good-things-happening-just-under-the-surface/episodes/2148091549 

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Looking for more structured sustainability learning? Check out our School of Understanding. Link here: https://www.theunderswell.com/pkgs

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#sustainability #surfing #carbon #bluecarbon #careers #marketing #keeplearning #mangroves #ecoboard #climatesolutions #nonprofitmanagement #seatrees #ocean #sequestration #oceanpositive #onepercentfortheplanet #coastalecosystems #climateneutral

Intro/Outro music by QubeSounds from Pixabay.

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