Man from At­lantis

He loves our coasts and gets New Zealan­ders stuck in to keep them beau­ti­ful. Sus­tain­able Coast­lines co-founder Sam Judd is pleased with the char­ity’s in­ter­est­ing new di­rec­tion but doesn’t mind if he’s out of job be­fore too long.

Element - - Community - By So­phie Bond

The numbers are im­pres­sive: ed­u­ca­tional pre­sen­ta­tions to over 18,000 school kids and 1000 ath­letes; 13,500 vol­un­teers; 697,000 litres of rub­bish cleared off the coast­lines. This is the work of Sus­tain­able Coast­lines, a home-grown char­ity with a mis­sion to clean up our beaches and ed­u­cate ki­wis about the dam­age a dis­carded chip packet, or bot­tle cap can do to our environment.

Co-founder and event di­rec­tor Sam Judd ex­plains ev­ery coastal clean-up is fol­lowed by an au­dit, where the rub­bish is cat­e­gorised and counted and the re­sults recorded. Com­mu­nity Pro­ba­tion Ser­vices from around New Zealand have helped Sus­tain­able Coast­lines with these au­dits, and now Sam has iden­ti­fied an­other way to in­volve of­fend­ers.

“I was in Gis­borne for a clean-up and au­dit and I didn’t think many peo­ple were go­ing to turn up in the bad weather, so I went to cor­rec­tions and sug­gested I come and present the slideshow I do in schools to the com­mu­nity ser­vice work­ers.

“We gave them the pre­sen­ta­tion, and the key point in it is the fact that drop­ping plas­tic in the ocean is poi­son­ing our kaimoana. This mes­sage re­ally res­onated with them; we had 40 guys that day and picked up 980kg of rub­bish.

Sam says Sus­tain­able Coast­lines now plans to work with Com­mu­nity Pro­ba­tion Ser­vices on ed­u­ca­tional work pro­grams for of­fend­ers. “Of­fend­ers aren’t nec­es­sar­ily the ones drop­ping rub­bish but they are a group of peo­ple that are lack­ing pride. I find that by us­ing the prin­ci­pals of kaiti­ak­i­tanga, or guardian­ship of the earth, we can en­gage them and re­store pride.

“It’s a very ef­fec­tive way to help the com­mu­nity; it’s got me re­ally en­thused. I get real sat­is­fac­tion from work­ing with peo­ple who are miss­ing that pride, and build­ing that up again. It makes me happy.” Sam’s al­ways been a tidy Kiwi. He grew up in Welling­ton and while on univer­sity ex­changes (Mex­ico, then Chile) was deeply struck by the im­pact lit­ter­ing has on the environment.

“I saw in­tense pol­lu­tion – Mex­ico was shock­ing. In the end it doesn’t mat­ter where peo­ple drop rub­bish, it makes it out to the coasts any­way and I saw it ev­ery­where.

“We were on the Gala­pa­gos Is­lands surf­ing, and saw a whole lot of an­i­mals wrapped up in rub­bish. That re­ally brought it home to me, here is a place where no one lives but it’s cov­ered in rub­bish.” Un­able to leave the Gala­pa­gos with­out mak­ing a con­tri­bu­tion, Sam and fel­low Kiwi surfer James Bai­ley, or­gan­ised their first coastal clean-up and cleared 7.5 tonnes of rub­bish from is­land of San Cris­to­bal. That was Fe­bru­ary 2008; now the char­ity has over 20 large scale cleanups to its name, from Tonga to Ran­gi­toto Is­land. While he’s def­i­nitely not one to grum­ble, Sam says it hasn’t al­ways been easy.

“Af­ter two and half years of do­ing this, I first got paid. Be­fore that I was re­ly­ing on the sup­port of gen­er­ous friends, sleep­ing on couches. It was a real strug­gle but at the same time af­ter run­ning each event we felt re­ally good about our­selves.” He says he’s not one for talk­ing about him­self. “I’m more in­ter­ested in paint­ing a pic­ture of rub­bish, be­cause that pic­ture is what’s go­ing to change peo­ple’s be­hav­iour.

“Our whole kau­papa, what we re­ally want, is to put our­selves out of a job. If peo­ple stopped drop­ping rub­bish on the street we wouldn’t have a job.”

Pho­tos: sus­tain­able­coast­

Above: Sam Judd Photo: Kel­lie Bliz­zard.

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