Tim Silverwood has a natural appreciation for the sea. While surfing and traveling the world he was confronted by the waste crisis. He was alerted to the fact that refuse, including global debris, was a potential threat to the marine environment in his backyard. Locally, Tim began raising awareness of the pollution in our oceans and aimed to inspire more surfers to take an active part in cleaning them up. He started organising local beach clean ups. Through those actions he was introduced to Amanda Marechal and Roberta Dixon-Valk who had developed the ‘Take 3’ concept. The not-for-profit organisation, ‘Take 3’ was formed in 2009. We asked Tim a few questions about ‘Take 3′ and how we can all make a difference.
What is ‘Take 3’ all about? The message is: simply take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, waterway or anywhere and you have made a difference. We believe that the simple action of taking 3 (or more) can not only reduce the threats of plastic pollution but by spreading the message around Australia and the world we can change the face of trash. We are fundamentally an education campaign that links in with all existing organisations to increase awareness of plastic pollution and drive positive action.
Is your message making a difference? I’m constantly blown-away by the increase in attention to this issue in the 5 years since I started. When I began this journey it felt like no one was working on the issue or even talking about it. Since then, we have seen giant leaps forward in legislation, education, product stewardship and global understanding. It’s incredibly heartening to know that Take 3 and my own activism, has played a role in that growth. For us the biggest achievements are seeing people take their own initiative to spread positive messages and make big changes. We work a lot in schools and seeing the innovative ideas students come up with to successfully address the issue are incredible. We’ve loved seeing international Take 3 Chapters develop around the world and our materials translated into different languages. Seeing local and state governments as well as corporate partners recognise the power of Take 3 and asking us to get involved in exciting initiatives is also a really rewarding experience. We love seeing new and innovative businesses emerge too, like you guys JOCO!
Which everyday, common, waste products are the most hazardous to the marine environment? Gee…so many! Any plastic item that gets into the marine environment is a hazard and will be for a really long time. We don’t yet know the true long-term impacts of the smaller fragments of plastic we call micro-plastics. They have the potential to fundamentally alter the marine food chain and our own health as a result of acting as a sponge to toxic pollutants and a pathway to our bodies. These micro plastics are mostly the result of larger plastic items degrading into smaller pieces over time. If I had to create a list I’d say anything that has a hole in it is an immediate hazard due to the entanglement risk. Plastic bags are extremely dangerous due to both suffocation and entanglement risk. Bottle caps are found in seabirds all over the world. The list goes on.
What can we all do to help our local oceans and waterways? It’s about starting with simple actions that cement your commitment to being part of the solution. People often discount themselves as being pivotal in broad scale positive action but that’s not true. Think about the Take 3 action, if you walk past that plastic bag in the park, the bottle cap in the street or the six-pack holder on the beach what’s to say THAT particular item won’t cause harm or death to an innocent creature? Nothing. By just picking it up you’re having an immense positive impact. Then imagine if 23 million Australians did the same? Imagine if they did it every day? The same goes for refusing disposable products like coffee cups. It might seem insignificant but what if everyone did it? The true impact of these small, seemingly simple, steps is that it creates a collective consciousness that this issue, and its effect, is unacceptable. It’s only then that we will start seeing less opposition to change from companies and legislators. I’ve developed my ’12 Tips for a Trash Free Future’ poster that you can download from my website if you want to see what else you can do to make a difference.
Help support ‘Take 3’ and visit them online here,
Portrait photograph: www.atdusk.com.au