At times, the uphill climb toward saving the planet can seem overwhelming. But with a uniquely straightforward goal and messaging campaign, Australian non-profit Take 3 for the Sea has managed to make pitching in feel achievable, no matter where one falls on the tree-hugging spectrum.
The organization's co-founder, Tim Silverwood, had a degree in sustainability and was working at an NGO before getting involved with Take 3. But it wasn't until a chance encounter with an activist pro surfer that he felt compelled to focus on ocean health.
"I got my big kick up the bum in 2009 when I ran into Dave Rastovich, when he was doing some work for his movie, The Cove," said Silverwood. "I ran into him when he was basically paddling kayaks from Byron to Bondi [to promote the film]. I was so inspired, it made me go, 'You can do more, Tim.'
"I was working for environmental NGOs, but mostly working on land issues and reforestation. I always had the call to help the oceans, being a surfer, but I didn't really know how. So when we started Take 3, I started to visualize how it could impact more people."
Silverwood and his co-founders' love of surfing was key to their strategy. "We made a film, took it to festivals, and tried to get all the board and surf clubs involved," he said. "We did beach cleanups, we also started going into schools, and started that way. ...We still deliver programs in schools, surf clubs, and communities, but the real impact is around online and social media, because we can quickly and simply impart that call to action."
That early approach is part of what led Silverwood to connect with Ace Buchan, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) veteran, who now serves as an ambassador for Take 3. For both Buchan and Silverwood, however, it's not just their mutual love for the beach that led them to champion Take 3's campaign, but also the simplicity of the organization's mission, combined with their sense of urgency.
"As a father, I think you feel that even more, when you start to see your children falling in love with the ocean," said Buchan. "And to think about a world where the ocean isn't part of their lives because it's so polluted is pretty sad."
Similarly, Silverwood was saddened by some of what he has seen in the water. "As a surfer, I relish the opportunities to be surfing in a beautiful, healthy ocean," he said. "The more I saw how creatures were impacted by our love affair with single-use plastic, it [upset me]. The oceans are critical to our survival.
"I'm really inspired at what we can do in the social and media space with partners like PURE and the WSL. We have failed with climate change. But we have a second chance with the oceans."