Love your Coast – and Water

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Sustainable Coastlines had its genesis in 2007, when Co-founder and CEO Sam Judd had lived in the Galapagos Islands for seven months and ran a huge coastal clean-up event.

Back in New Zealand in 2009, Sam brought that model first to Aotea/Great Barrier Island. Now, with a staff of ten, the programme has expanded to cover 16 regions nationally and spread out into a number of Pacific Islands.

Sustainable Coastlines describes itself as “a young, multi-award winning New Zealand charity run by a small team of hard-working staff and a network of passionate volunteers and interns. We love our coasts and we work with our sleeves rolled up to keep them beautiful. We coordinate and support large-scale coastal clean-up events, educational programmes, public awareness campaigns and riparian planting projects. We also help groups run their own events. Through these efforts we motivate volunteers and communities around Aotearoa and the Pacific to look after the coastlines we all love”.

Ahuriri planting in Napier

HSBC Tiritiri Matangi Island Clean-up

Since early 2008 Sustainable Coastlines has motivated volunteers to remove huge hauls of rubbish from coastlines around New Zealand and the Pacific. Large-scale awareness has been raised about the challenges facing marine environments and simple solutions offered to look after the coastlines. The numbers speak for themselves:

  • 1,026,525 litres of rubbish collected
  • 38,395 people have participated in events
  • 109,407 people have viewed presentations
  • 19,934 trees have been planted

The successful outcomes stem from a comprehensive programme of direct participation, wide-reaching media exposure and public advertising campaigns, as well as through educational presentations to tens of thousands of school students, businesses, offenders and community groups.

Speaking recently, 2013 Young New Zealander of the Year Sam said, “Today the programme embraces two strong catch cries, ‘Love your Coast’ and ‘Love your Water’”.

Love your Coast Wellington 2013

ELA & James Cook High Rangitoto Clean-up 2014

He went on, “In December 2010 we launched Love your Coast with massive clean-up events around the country involving over 5,500 people. This resulted not only in the removal of tonnes of rubbish from our coastlines, but in the establishment of our free event planning tool and network (www.loveyourcoast.org) that helps anyone running their own coastal clean-up to plan and promote their event.”

Since 2010 dozens of coastal clean-up events have been independently created and schools have begun to adopt what they learned from the experience into their existing ongoing curriculum. Sustainable Coastlines has focussed on simple, positive, grass roots actions that combine hands-on learning with fun in a setting that everyone loves. By doing so the programme attracts a vast cross-section of volunteers to events and has quickly gained a large and highly-engaged following.

Southland tree planting

Tasman Love Your Water Planting Events

Sam says, “While the coastal clean-up is very significant, we rate the emphasis on the educational aspects as even more important; it’s our major charitable focus. The objective is to implement behavioural change with a view to influencing people to stop using and dropping the rubbish in the first place. We expect the education to happen before an event is staged. Our goal is large scale indoctrination with a comprehensive tool kit to support people’s efforts”.

A related focus for the programme has developed with the Love your Water component focussing on improving water quality through riparian planting.

Sustainable Coastlines is a field partner along with Trees for Survival, in the Million Metre Stream programme launched by the Sustainable Business Network and Enspiral. Sam said, “I have great admiration for the Trees for Survival programme. I feel very passionate about their model and am keen to promote its message as broadly as possible”.

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