Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Erina Fair winners
In 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity, Taronga celebrated wildlife and the ingenuity of Australians by launching the Taronga Green Grants.  We asked a simple question “with $50,000 and access to 1.6 million people a year, what would you do to make Australia a safer place for wildlife?”.   

Our winners, Take 3, want to inspire Australians to take personal responsibility for the plastic waste they see on beaches to protect turtles, penguins and other birds from the plastics’ toxins that affectall marine wildlife and people.

In July Take 3 created a huge splash at Erina Fair, running a Schools Art Competition that gave students from 21 schools in the central coast area a platform to express their feelings about marine debris and the damage it causes in creative, expressive, beautiful and touching ways. The art pieces demonstrated that students had picked up not only that plastic waste was directly responsible for choking turtles and birds, and causing physical damage to fins, wings and legs but also the more subtle impacts of toxins released into this fragile ecosystem through the degradation of the plastic over time.

Take 3 banner
The community response to the art work was fantastic to see as well, perhaps this medium helps students express the strange mix of sadness and hope they feel about the environment they will inherit more easily than words?

Tim Silverwood, co-founder of Take 3 and one of this year’s Keep Australia Beautiful ambassadors set off on July 7th across the unsettled waters of the Great Pacific, from Hawaii to Vancouver through the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch, in the Northern Pacific Gyre. This slow clockwise currents cause a vortex, bringing the world's plastic waste together – a column of waste now roughly the size of Australia and growing exponentially every year.

Tim wrote on his blog

The trawls have all collected plastic particles including some obscure items including a toothbrush and a small plastic toy gorilla, I never would have expected that! We have been spotting larger macro- debris items since day three including fishing crates, broken pieces of plastic, pieces of plastic tube, bunches of discarded net, rope, bottle caps and plastic bottles. It’s disheartening; especially given the fact that we are tracing such a thin line with the boat and the debris clearly stretches in every direction much farther than we will ever see.

Makes you think  about where what you buy will end up?

Stay tuned for more updates on Take 3’s activities throughout the year.

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