The Clean Coast Collective Interview

The Ocean is of paramount importance to the beautiful, living organism that is our planet. The issues facing it is something I have become more aware of, more focused on - particularly perhaps since living so close to the ocean for the last year and a half. It is something that, while of interest previously, I have become passionate about. Reducing my use of plastic, helping with beach clean-ups, and connecting with like-minded groups has all come into my life. 

The Clean Coast Collective is one such group which has helped to inform me, motivate me, and progress forward on my ocean conservation journey. I keenly got in touch with them - to learn more myself, and share what they're about and how we can all begin to make a difference. Get involved! And thanks to Nat Woods for talking to me - here's our Q&A.

1. What is the Clean Coast Collective?

Clean Coast Collective is a social enterprise that runs beach clean up expeditions and raises awareness for the amount of plastic pollution in our oceans. We're the first to admit that cleaning beaches isn't trendy, so we approach the issue from a light-hearted, relaxed and positive angle. 

After two years of operating through grants, sponsorships and money from our own pockets, we're now transitioning into a social enterprise model and will be launching a range of lifestyle products this summer. The new range will fund future expeditions to clean up some of Australia's dirtiest beaches.

2. How did the CCC come about?

We used to spend a lot of our time exploring remote sections of the New South Wales south coast – we could pack our camping gear and hike into remote beaches. On each occasion we would find the strangest rubbish littering the shoreline and would carry it home without much thought. Soon we began searching out the rubbish, challening ourselves to see just how much we could find – it was at this point that we started to research the issue of marine debris. It really struck us how naive we had been to how polluted our oceans are. Clean Coast Collective was our way to start bringing this information to our fellow surfers and do our part to clean up the mess.

3. What's your personal relationship with the ocean? 

Both Dan and I grew up exploring Australia's beaches – like so many others, the seaside brings such a strong sense of nostalgia for lazy summer holidays and chilly winter surfs. As land-living creatures, I think the ocean just has such a magical pull for humans. It's mysterious, powerful and calming all at once.

 4. Why do we need more people to care about the ocean and what we're putting in it? 

People are drawn to the ocean because it's just so incredible vast, but it's this same reason that many of the ocean's problems go unnoticed. The huge expanse of the ocean hides so many of the problem's it's currently facing – pollution is dispersed thinly or accumulated far from land, dying coral lies hidden beneath the surface and rising sea temperatures are invisible to the human eye. 

As a nation that attaches so much of its national identity to its beaches, we all have a responsibility to educate ourselves about the health of our oceans and its inhabitants. More importantly, we have a responsibility to ensure our daily habits aren't unwittingly damaging our coastlines. If you ever enjoy going to the beach or swimming in the ocean, then you should be helping protect it – even if that just means that you pick up a few pieces of rubbish every time you're at the beach, it can be that easy.

5. How can people get involved? Have you got any particular events coming up? 

We ran a Plastic Free July campaign in the Byron Shire, but we encourage people to continue past just July! Plastic Free July challenged people to completely avoid, or minimise, their use of plastics for one month.

You can find plenty of tips for going plastic-free on our social media and blog.

6. Where can we find out more? 

We post all our news, updates and product information on our instagram (@cleancoastcollective). You can also jump on to our website –www.cleancoastcollective.org 

7. Any other rad companies / documentaries / places we should look to find out more and get involved? 

Our Trash Tribe film is available to watch for free on our website – it documents our adventure to far north Queensland: http://www.cleancoastcollective.org/trash-tribe-the-film 

If you want to see what's washing ashore in the Northern Hemisphere, then North of the Sun is a must watch: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/northofthesun