Lorella Doherty, Rethinking Plastic Revolution

Lorella Doherty, Rethinking Plastic Revolution

The Seaweek 2019 Senior Ocean Champion
Click here to see all the Seaweek 2019 Ocean Champion Challenges

My name is Lorella from Rethinking Plastic Revolution. I studied Marine Biology and Conservation Science at Canterbury University in early 2000. I started Rethinking Plastic Revolution a few years ago after the deepest sadness over came me on one of my daily beach cleans. No matter how much plastic I picked up, there was always more in it’s place on the next tide. I knew I needed to put this sadness and my passion for the ocean and Earth to use, and so I started Rethinking Plastic Revolution where I educate and inspire others to rethink their throw away plastic use. After a time I started feeling guilty that I was filling up weekly rubbish bags with my beach clean plastic and it was simply going into landfill. And so I started keeping all I could use and using it to make murals. I then take those murals around to schools, businesses and groups and talk about ocean plastic and offer alternative ideas. I now write, speak, run campaigns, make murals and art, run workshops, co-organise beach cleans, collaborate with other conservation groups on projects, make videos, and of course do my daily beach cleans (and raise my beautiful 3 children in an earth loving way). I believe we are all kaitiaki of this land; that we are all here to protect and conserve the earth in the way we are most passionate about.

Senior Ocean Champion Challenge Name: 10,000 Butts In Ten Days
What is the problem your Ocean Challenge is trying to solve? Raising awareness that cigarette butts are plastic and not degradable and the biggest single item contributor of marine plastic pollution.
How will your Ocean Challenge solve this problem? Be specific – identify objectives, actions and outcomes: Over ten days of NZ Seaweek (1st-10th March 2019) I will be collecting 1,000 butts per day (10,000 in total) in New Plymouth, beaches and parks via a pledge me campaign to raise funds for raising awareness. The funds raised will go toward adverting material such as design and posters, t-shirts and hoping to raise enough to make a professional short video to share throughout NZ. Most people who drop butts have no idea they are dropping something that is plastic and that it does not decompose. But is instead made from 12,000 plastic fibres (cellulose acetate) and it takes 10+ to break down (into tiny toxic particles) that is toxic for aquatic life. I want to to be common knowledge and conversation that butts are plastic and not paper. When people are not aware, they simply do not know any better. If this fact is known by many, behaviours can change.
How will you engage with others to undertake your Ocean Challenge? I have created a Pledge Me Campaign on this and will engage others through this campaign for those that support and follow the campaign. Some great sustainable NZ businesses supported this campaign offering rewards and they will share the campaign with the wider NZ community. I will share my daily 1,000 butt collections via my FB page and Instagram, writing posts and creating short videos. I have also been contacted by the newspaper to share the campaign. I do a weekly beach clean with a local school and for one of the days, they will help me with the collection so that I can involve children. Each year for NZ Seaweek I co-organise a community beach clean with a local conservation group, we will count the butts on this day as a collaborative.
How will you measure the success of your Ocean Challenge? I will be counting the butts each day and will end up with the tally of the 10,000 butts (I will then keep the butts to take along to my talks to educate and inspire further). The success will be in getting a more specific idea on what areas most butts are found, to find where butt bins and signage would be most ideal to put – a future email with findings to spread around to NZ councils. And to raise enough funds to advertise far and wide throughout Taranaki and NZ the message that butts are plastic, not degradable and should not be dropped on the ground as they make their way to sea and are having devastating effects.
More information: https://www.pledgeme.co.nz/projects/5994-10-000-butts-in-10-days
Entry supported / validated by: Penny Cullen
Voting for the Seaweek 2019 Senior Ocean Champion competition is now open until midnight Friday 1 March 2019. 
Click here to see all the Seaweek 2019 Ocean Champion Challenges

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What do you do with all the plastic you find on the beach? Does it end up in the bin or have you ever tried to give it a second life by turning it into a piece of art like Lorella here from Rethinking Plastic Revolution? Lorella was our 2019 Ocean Champion Challenge winner for her commitment to pick up 10,000 cigarette butts from all over New Plymouth, raising awareness that butts are plastic and not degradable and the biggest single item contributor of marine plastic pollution.

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