Over 1 million litres of rubbish collected

Sam Judd, CEO and Co-founder, Sustainable Coastlines Charitable Trust
Over 1 million litres of rubbish collected

The Sustainable Coastlines Charitable Trust was started by three kiwi surfers whilst on an adventure in the Galápagos Islands off the coast of South America in 2008.

It has a proud history of successfully designing and executing large-scale projects across New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Eight years on, we hear from CEO and Co-founder Sam Judd around what the multi-award winning Kiwi charity is up to and how others can get involved.

Auckland-Sky-Tower

Auckland Sky Tower

“Since establishment we have motivated more than 46,000 volunteers to remove over one million litres of rubbish from our coastlines. To put this into
context – the Skytower in Auckland has 1.5 million litres of concrete in it – and we are more than two-thirds of the way up.

SEE ALSO: Volunteering: Doing well by doing good 

While the challenges of water quality and litter can be obvious when it lands on the beach, the causes usually originates upstream. To tackle this, we educate people to stop litter at its’ source – a service that we have delivered to over 134,000 people in diverse communities. We have also planted over 26,000 native trees to clean-up our waterways before they reach the ocean – an activity which we are currently raising funds for to scale-up further.

Why do we do this? We want a more prosperous future for ourselves, our families and society. Our natural capital is a pre-requisite for the long-term financial sustainability of many of our industries and it must be protected to enable future generations to enjoy what is on offer to us today.

In 2010 Sustainable Coastlines collaborated with three other charities (The Sir Peter Blake Trust, Keep New Zealand Beautiful and The Te Wai Pounamu Foundation) to establish our flagship program, Love Your Coast. This is an open source platform that we train people how to use. This enables us to build the capacity of local communities around New Zealand and throughout the Pacific.

Beach times

Plastics in our oceans are far more serious than just a visual nuisance. They entangle and kill marine animals and are eaten by fish – which poisons our food chain. Considering that seafood is the number one source of protein for over 1 billion people globally, this is a major concern. Many plastics contain carcinogenic (cancer causing) chemicals and some even have endocrine disruptors, which can lead to awful developmental health issues and birth defects in children.

"We must stop plastic from getting into our ocean"

But this program is not just about picking up litter. Jacques Cousteau famously said, “People protect what they love”, so the first step is to establish love for the coast. We facilitate an emotional connection between people and the beaches that they love – making it fun for people to behave postively.

Our strategy for scaling this solution is to train ambassadors in public speaking and event management – a program which we are inviting Westpac staff to take part in. Ambassadors can then use their volunteer days to add significant and measurable value to the communities where they work and live while learning new skills.

We have been effectively collaborating with Westpac volunteers since we ran a clean-up event on Aotea/Great Barrier Island in 2009. This partnership has continued with our wintertime tree planting events which help to clean-up the water that ends up on the coast.

Beach times 1

But now we are running what is our most geographically-ambitious project yet and would love to have you involved.

Alongside partners such as Westpac we are aiming to clean-up New Zealand’s second largest harbour, the Manukau. This behemoth waterway – home to a dense population of proud people, our international airport and historically significant for Tangata Whenua - has over 450 kilometres of coastline. Covering its entirety presents a significant challenge, but we have over 2,800 people already registered to clean it up and we are ready to take it on.

‘Love Your Coast Manukau’ includes over 40 individual cleanup events with schools and corporate groups. We also expect hundreds to arrive at our six public registration stations throughout the Manukau on Saturday March 5th (more info at www.sustainablecoastlines.org/events).

An event of this size could not be achieved without our key partners, and it is only with the commitment of businesses such as Westpac that we are able to reach so many people and achieve our vision of inspired people, beautiful beaches and healthy waters.

So spread the word, spread the love, and see you out on the beautiful Manukau Harbour helping us make a better tomorrow.

 - Sam Judd, CEO and Co-founder, Sustainable Coastlines Charitable Trust - 

SEE ALSO: Volunteering: Doing well by doing good 

About the authorSam Judd

Sam Judd, 2013 Young New Zealander of the Year, is the Co-Founder and CEO of the multi award-winning Sustainable Coastlines Charitable Trust.

To get involved in Sustainable Coastlines volunteering programs, sign into their mailing list on the homepage of their website: www.sustainablecoastlines.org

 

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