Earth Day event Features HazMat Surfer
Public Watchdogs’ wildly popular HazMat Surfer helped draw attention to the problem of the nuclear waste at San Onofre with this front page photograph.
Public Watchdogs participated in the San Onofre Nuclear Awareness Boot at Earth Day, and the HazMat Surfer was wildly popular. According to the story:
Andrew Quella was braving Sunday’s 80-degree heat in a yellow hazmat suit and gas mask to help take the fear out of a more serious topic.
As he held a surf board and posed for pictures, Quella and Charles Langley, executive director of the Public Watchdogs advocacy group, educated booth visitors about nuclear waste sitting near the coastline at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Spent nuclear fuel has been stored at the station, which lies on a fault line, for years.
“When people find out how dangerous the situation is, they kind of shut down,” Langley said. “They go into denial because there are no easy solutions, and [the hazmat surfer] just helps bring in a measure of levity to an otherwise serious topic.”
Despite the heat and sweat streaming down his forehead, Quella said he was glad he volunteered for the role. He recently switched to a vegan diet, does all of his grocery shopping at local farmers markets and is attempting to live a zero-waste lifestyle.
“We all have to give back somehow,” Quella said. “If that means standing here in a suit, I mean, there are worse ways to spend your Sundays.”