A few months ago, Hugo Tagholm, the CEO of Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) - an environmental charity that works to protect the world's oceans - received a phone call that would radically change the course of his organization. It was the royal office, calling to say that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had selected SAS as one of the seven organizations to which their wedding guests were invited to donate, in lieu of gifts.
"The call came completely out of the blue," Tagholm told the WSL. "Sometimes there is magic going on in the background that you don't even know about. This is just one of those magical moments. It's a royal shaka to all our volunteers. This is a testament to all their hard work".
Having been in operation across the UK since the early '90s, SAS empowers its surrounding communities to take action when it comes to marine conservation issues. Tagholm has traveled around the world campaigning for the organization, and has even worked with the Prince of Wales, but the CEO has never had any personal ties to the royal palace.
Through this inclusion in the royal picks, SAS has been able to to deliver their message to more than a billion people. Although the final stats are still being calculated, it's clear that their numbers -- in terms of volunteers, money and attention -- have gone up...a lot.
"I think we were chosen based off of the work we've already done," said Tagholm. "So despite this newfound attention, we're going to keep with the same strategy. In this day and age, especially when it comes to charities, authenticity is everything. This opportunity has given us a whole new tier of credibility that couldn't have been achieved any other way. That phone call might have been the most exciting one I've ever received."
The aim of SAS is to reduce the plastic footprint of communities around the world. While plastic has created immeasurable consequences when it comes to our oceans and pollution, it's also brought a lot of environmental issues to light that might not have been as widely recognized otherwise.
"Plastic has arguably brought people together," continued Tagholm. "It's forced people to realize that something is not right here. The way we are living is not right and that realization is powerful".
Join the fight against plastic and learn more about Surfers Against Sewage by visiting their website at SAS.org.