The Take 3 – A Clean Beach Initiative to keep rubbish off beaches was chosen last night as the inaugural winner of the Taronga Green Grants $50,000 Award.Take 3 is a non-for-profit organisation formed by surfers and ocean lovers in 2009 and their idea is designed not just to get people taking away three pieces of rubbish every time they visit a beach, but at the same time removing dangerous pollution from our waterways and reducing its often fatal impact on wildlife. Taronga’s Research and Conservation Manager, Dr Rebecca Spindler, said: “We’re delighted to announce the award and to congratulate Take 3 for coming up with such a great way to harness Australia’s passion for the beach to get rid of what these wonderful people call “the Silent Assassin’ – marine debris.”“Their concept is exactly what we wanted to encourage, creating an incredible simple, catchy way get rubbish off our beaches, keep it out of the water and stop it killing wildlife. Another great thing about it, is that once you get in the habitat you can apply this anywhere.”Take 3’s spokesperson, marine ecologist, Roberta Dixon-Valk, said: “Since we started Take 3, we’ve been pushing this simple message throughout coastal communities and we hope to take it to the world. The Taronga Green Grant will be a tremendous boost to our efforts.” Taronga’s Conservation Committee received 209 applications from across Australia after the grants were announced late last year and a panel including top environmentalists managed to select seven finalists, from which Take 3 emerged as the winner.The ideas included using worm farms to drastically remove organic waste from household rubbish for the whole township of Ballarat and a plan for neighbours to
share tools and equipment. Dr Spindler said: “When our fundraising arm, the Taronga Foundation, decided to get behind this project, we knew we had a way to get Australia’s thinking about ways they, as individuals, would help wildlife and the environment.”“Our Zoos are offering to showcase the winning idea to our 1.6 million visitors each year and provide $50,000 to develop the idea. It perfectly complements the Taronga Foundation’s Conservation Field Grants program which has put over $300,000 into in situ conservation projects across the region and in Australia in just over two years.”“We were looking for a totally new idea to help inspire Australians and make a huge difference for Australian wildlife. Australians think of themselves as being innovative and able to come up with great ideas, so we wanted at the Zoos to harness this great national capability.”The winner was announced at the Taronga Conservation Theatre last night. For more information on Take 3 go to: www.take3.org.au.The Finalists:‘Backyard to Bush: Healthy Homes, Healthy Parks’The program promotes activities that deliver tangible benefits to the household by creating savings in energy, food, healthcare, water and waste costs, (Healthy Homes) and expands the level of understanding from the individual to the communal by bringing local groups together for an environmental regeneration activity (Healthy Parks). The Healthy Homes program will be piloted for six months with a Western Sydney community bordering the Western Sydney Parklands area.‘What’s My Wildlife Impact?’ (Animal Works)This project will use the best available emerging digital technology in iphone applications combined with the development of a targeted long-term communication and education program to connect peoples’ daily activities such as food consumption, mobile phone use and lifestyle choices to their impact on some of the most charismatic ambassadors in the animal world. ‘Reincarnated Mansions’The Reincarnated McMansion project proposes to audit, dismantle and rebuild a single unsustainable large Sydney suburban home into two or three best practice zero-emission smaller green homes using the existing home’s building materials, reducing the energy footprint of the ‘new’ 2- 3 reincarnated homes by 60-80%, to draw mass attention to existing unsustainable residential building practices in Australia.Environmental Activity Statement in Tax ReturnsThe proposal addressing this issue is to introduce a requirement for every individual tax paying citizen in Australia to include an ‘environmental footprint calculator’ (or basically an emissions calculator) into their annual tax return to help raise the level of understanding around the degree of change required for us to achieve a sustainable standard of living. ‘National Borrow it from your Neighbour Day’The ‘National Borrow it from your Neighbour Day’ campaign is designed to raise awareness of the relationship between consumption and conservation. The day itself will be an awareness raising event whereby sharing on all scales will be encouraged and promoted, from neighbours sharing garden tools, to local community groups running swapping and borrowing events, to people sharing skills.Rode RAGE City Wide Worm FarmsWe want to work with the City of Ballarat to place a Vermicompost bin in every property in Ballarat (as the Council already does with rubbish/recycling bins) to massively reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfill, the use of petro-chemical fertilisers and the resulting environmental damage which impacts most harshly on wildlife and extremely poor people whilst caused by wealthy people. Then to use Ballarat as a model for all other communities in the world.