Char­ity boss has cleanup in the bag

DAILY GRIND Ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple about wa­ter qual­ity is­sues is a way of life for Sam Judd. Ka­rina Abadia talks to the chief ex­ec­u­tive of Sus­tain­able Coast­lines about how he got into the cleanup busi­ness.

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Sam Judd loves push­ing him­self out of his com­fort zone. That’s partly why he co-founded the char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tion Sus­tain­able Coast­lines.

Its aim is to raise aware­ness about the im­pacts of lit­ter­ing and poor wa­ter qual­ity. But sav­ing the en­vi­ron­ment isn’t Judd’s pri­mary mo­ti­va­tion.

‘‘Ma­rine de­bris di­rectly af­fects hu­man health and our economic growth. I want to see clean beaches but I also want to be able to feed fish to my 2-year-old daugh­ter with­out wor­ry­ing it’s go­ing to make her get sick.’’

The Eden Tce res­i­dent stud­ied law and com­merce at Otago Univer­sity and prob­a­bly would’ve be­come an in­ter­na­tional busi­ness­man if he hadn’t got in­volved with beach cleanups.

Sus­tain­able Coast­lines was set up in 2009 but the seed had been planted the year be­fore when Judd helped run the first coastal cleanup in the Gala­pa­gos Is­lands.

Then he or­gan­ised an event at Great Bar­rier Is­land where vol­un­teers col­lected 2.8 tonnes of rub­bish in 2009. The fol­low­ing year they picked up 3.1 tonnes.

That’s when he and his team re­alised they needed to con­cen­trate on shift­ing at­ti­tudes.

‘‘Even though the events were great for the peo­ple in­volved it wasn’t stop­ping it at its source.

‘‘We started ed­u­cat­ing stu­dents, busi­ness peo­ple and of­fend­ers un­der­tak­ing com­mu­nity work. We give them a pre­sen­ta­tion on why it’s im­por­tant to min­imise plas­tic waste and not to lit­ter.’’

He didn’t take a salary for 21⁄ years but the char­ity was able to turn pro­fes­sional thanks to its cor­po­rate team­build­ing events, do­na­tions and an­nual char­ity ball.

Judd likes the di­ver­sity of his work which in­cludes or­gan­is­ing ri­par­ian plant­ing and coastal cleanup events, giv­ing pre­sen­ta­tions, writ­ing pro­pos­als for large devel­op­ment pro­grammes in the Pacific, li­ais­ing with schools, ed­u­cat­ing of­fend­ers and talk­ing to the me­dia.

The 31-year-old works about 80 hours a week but the re­wards are huge, he says.

‘‘We can see the change in the com­mu­nity that we’re cre­at­ing. There are def­i­nitely other groups run­ning beach cleanup events but the be­havioural change tools we’ve de­vel­oped are some of the best in the world.’’

The fo­cus of the or­gan­i­sa­tion has broad­ened over time.

‘‘We re­alised we can’t do this all our­selves. Even if we had 200 staff we still wouldn’t be meet­ing the de­mand.’’

They of­fer train­ing in de­liv­er­ing their ed­u­ca­tional pre­sen­ta­tions to com­mu­nity groups, cor­po­rates and gov­ern­ment work­ers and share their ma­te­ri­als on the open source plat­form Love Your Coast as well as Love Your Wa­ter, which is still un­der devel­op­ment.

Judd and the or­gan­i­sa­tion have re­ceived plenty of recog­ni­tion for their work over the years and he was named Ki­wibank Young New Zealan­der of the Year in 2013. ‘‘It was a huge hon­our,’’ he says. ‘‘But I wasn’t com­pletely com­fort­able with that recog­ni­tion be­cause we’ve achieved what we have through team­work.

‘‘I’m the front­man but there’s 10 of us.’’

Photo: KA­RINA ABADIA

In­no­va­tive think­ing: Sus­tain­able Coast­lines chief ex­ec­u­tive Sam Judd en­joys the chal­lenge and di­ver­sity of his role.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bour news.co.nz and click Lat­est Edi­tion to watch a video about Sus­tain­able Coast­lines.

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