Co-founder Camden Howitt wraps up 14 years with Sustainable Coastlines | Sustainable Coastlines

Big news for Sustainable Coastlines comes today, with Co-founder and Programmes Director Camden Howitt announcing he is moving on from the charity after nearly 14 years of mahi for our oceans.

Since early 2009, Camden has been a driving force for solutions to ocean pollution. Alongside co-founder Sam Judd, Camden designed and delivered programmes that have removed 1.7 million litres of litter from coastlines, planted 330,000 trees to restore waterways, engaged 150,000 volunteers and provided education for ocean action to 250,000 people.

More recently, Camden spearheaded the 2018 launch of the charity’s newest, award-winning programme Litter Intelligence, training ‘citizen scientists’ at over 300 beaches nationwide to monitor and take action on marine litter and plastic pollution.

A passionate advocate for our moana and awa, Camden has delivered community-based environmental solutions for Sustainable Coastlines around Aotearoa and the Pacific. With his years of strategy, community engagement and programme design experience, Camden combines a deep connection with the outdoors with a drive for collaboration to build large-scale change. A regular contributor to national, regional and global dialogue on sustainability, Camden is an expert at creating innovative solutions that work.

Reflecting on his departure, Camden said that while it was a tough decision, the time was right and he leaves a legacy of well-established programmes and a great team to continue the mahi.

“I’m super excited about the next stage of my journey, and the opportunity to address some of the greatest sustainability challenges Aotearoa faces,” says Camden. “My love for our oceans, and my drive to protect them, is stronger than ever, and I’m committed to continuing to push for better outcomes for our moana.”

Camden (left) at a tree-planting event at Auckland’s Puhinui Reserve

While he is finishing up his Programmes Director role at Sustainable Coastlines, Camden will continue his ongoing mahi to solve plastic pollution through his membership of the Aotearoa Plastic Pollution Alliance, as a Litter Intelligence Citizen Scientist, and through his daily actions.

Announcing Camden’s departure, Sustainable Coastlines Chair Samantha Walmsley-Bartlett said the Board was sad to see Camden move on, but is excited to see the contributions he will continue to make to regenerate te taiao.

“Camden has embodied a passion for restoring and protecting the natural beauty of our coastline. I would like to thank him for his significant contribution to the charity and we all wish him the greatest of success in the future,” says Walmsley-Bartlett.

Camden and the SC whānau at an event at The Flagship Education Centre

“I’m proud of everything our wonderful whānau has achieved over the years, and I consider myself lucky to have been surrounded by so many brilliant, passionate people along the way,” added Howitt.

“I want to thank our Sustainable Coastlines team, our Board, our unwavering partners and supporters, and our incredible network of volunteers who turn up time and time again. Without you Sustainable Coastlines could not have existed, but with you, I know it will continue to thrive.”

Media release: 7 July 2022

With more than 15,000 kilometres of coast, Aotearoa has one of the longest and most stunning stretches of coastline of any country. On a three monthly basis, Litter Intelligence groups across the country visit their local stretch of coastline to record waste findings. This Plastic Free July, award-winning charity Sustainable Coastlines is celebrating the power of this data, and the trailblazing heroes who help collect it: citizen scientists. Now, the efforts of these dedicated individuals are contributing to a Wellbeing Indicator for Stats NZ.

“Plastic Free July is a great time to motivate the masses to be part of solutions to plastic pollution”, says Sustainable Coastlines Co-Founder Camden Howitt. “We created Litter Intelligence to inspire and inform better decisions for a world without litter, and we’re proud that our work with Stats NZ takes us another step forward for better solutions to the plastic crisis.”

Launched in 2018, Litter Intelligence is New Zealand’s first and only national beach litter database. The data collection methodology is based on United Nations Environment Program guidelines and was co-designed alongside the Ministry for the Environment, Stats NZ and the Department of Conservation. The detailed training, combined with user-friendly technology, allows environmental data to be submitted by communities at the highest standard, so it can be used by government reporting, which now include the Wellbeing Indicators for Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand.

Litter Intelligence data collection in action.

“Stats NZ has partnered with Sustainable Coastlines over the past few years on Litter Intelligence, supporting good data management practice, and open data access,” says Stats NZ Environmental and Agricultural Statistics Senior Manager, Michele Lloyd.

“This data was first used as a case study in the Our Marine Environment 2019 report. I am pleased to see that this data will continue to be used to add value to Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa – Indicators Aotearoa NZ. This is a great example of how working together with external partners can provide additional data to reduce data gaps for New Zealand.”

Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand was developed by Stats NZ as a source of measures for New Zealand’s wellbeing and aims to help monitor progress around social, economic, cultural and environmental wellbeing. The wellbeing indicators are built on international best practice, and are  tailored to New Zealand. Litter Intelligence‘s citizen science data is now informing Wellbeing Indicators, in particular the ‘Waste flows in waterways and coastal marine environments’ indicator which demonstrates the amount of waste discharged into waterways and coastal areas around NZ each year.

‘Citizen science’ refers to the public participation in scientific research — it is a non-traditional form of data collection and is already contributing significantly to the scientific community. Thanks to the citizen scientists involved in the Litter Intelligence programme, government agencies, businesses and communities now have better insights into the health of our coasts and therefore, the power to find appropriate solutions.

Marilyn Scott’s Litter Intelligence citizen science group, monitoring the Waitangi Estuary in Hawke’s Bay.

“This announcement shows the true power of citizen science. We’re incredibly proud that members of our community can contribute towards environmental reporting that informs better decision making,” says Howitt. “Thanks to the continued dedication and hard work of our citizen scientists, we’re now able to contribute to the wellbeing indicators of our own home, right here in Aotearoa”.  

Long-time citizen scientist Marilyn Scott says people often feel disempowered, when it comes to the health of the environment, but since taking the role of a citizen scientist she feels like she’s part of the solution. 

“Our citizen science group started in June 2019 and is made up of 20 dedicated individuals who look after the Waitangi Estuary in Hawke’s Bay. The beauty of this work is in seeing the efforts coming together throughout Aotearoa and the direct action that comes from it. Sure, you see disappointing things of course, like the countless pieces of single-use plastic, or the horrid oesophagus clips on our coasts but the great thing about this involvement, is the fact that there is a further layer here which is ironclad data that can be used for government reporting and policy change. It’s great to think we’re helping restore Papatūānuku and therefore part of a bigger picture, and I for one, am delighted to be involved”.

“We’re proud to celebrate Plastic Free July by acknowledging the mahi of our fellow Kiwis,” adds Howitt. Their dedication, commitment, and volunteering of their time – over 16,000 hours to date – is an epic contribution to the health of our moana”. 

Visit https://statisticsnz.shinyapps.io/wellbeingindicators/for more information about well-being.

To learn more about Litter Intelligence please visit:
https://litterintelligence.org

Top 10 Plastic Pollution Offenders

Plus their plastic-free counterparts

 

To give you some motivation for Plastic Free July and beyond, we’re sharing the top 10 plastic items found in our Litter Intelligence beach surveys, and some tips on how to avoid them!

As of 29 June 2022, plastic and foamed plastic together represent 75% of the total litter we find in our beach survey areas across Aotearoa, by number of items (not weight or mass). 

At any time on the Litter Intelligence Insights page, you can see the most commonly found litter in our beach survey areas.

This data is thanks to the Litter Intelligence citizen scientists across Aotearoa, who visit their local beach every three months and conduct a litter survey. The data they collect give us awesome insights into the state of our coastlines and what we can do about it. Ngā mihi nui to these fantastic volunteers!

Photo: Ministry for the Environment. Citizen scientists conducting a survey on Kāpiti Island.
MFE Beach cleanup project on Kāpiti Island with Sustainable Coastlines crew & Department of Conservation.
24/09/2021 Photographer Jeff McEwan / Capture Studios
SCL_Auckland Council Staff Day@Taumanu Reserve_21.04.21_139

#10: Lollipop sticks

4,590 items, 1.3% of all items

If you’re ever surprised by your child coming home from school and telling you not to buy lollipops anymore, they’ve probably had a presentation from us. The ridiculous number of lollipop sticks on our coastline and the impact they have on marine life is often one of our key takeaways.

Use instead: this one’s easy. Most lollies don’t have sticks! Even better, get some without plastic wrap from your local bulk store.

Top 10 carousels

#9: Food containers

5,910 items, 1.7% of all items

Plastic takeaway boxes, yoghurt pottles, soy sauce fish — sadly, a lot of the items we use day-to-day for convenience end up on our coastlines. 

Use instead: we recommend small steps with this one as it can be hard to cut everything out at once. Our number-one tip is to get some good-quality reusable food containers (keep using your plastic ones if that’s what you’ve got), and take them with you to work to fill up at your favourite lunch spot, or your takeaway shop for dinner.

SCL_Auckland Council Staff Day@Taumanu Reserve_21.04.21_224 copy

#8: Unidentifiable foamed plastic fragments

6,627 items, 1.9% of all items

This category is made up of little bits of foamed plastic that are so fragmented we can’t identify them! Let’s be honest, some of this stuff, like polystyrene, just breaks up in your hands. The smaller it is, the harder it is to get out of our ecosystems, which is why it’s super important to not let it get there in the first place.

Use instead: We’re stoked that polystyrene takeaway containers are being banned from late 2022! But foamed plastic is also often used to keep fragile things safe during shipping, like the foam netting used to protect wine bottles or mangoes, and those awful packing beans! If you’re getting something shipped, ask the supplier if they have a biodegradable alternative, like good old brown paper — the more people that ask, the more likely they will listen!

#7: Bottle caps & lids

13,898 items, 4% of all items

We’ve all spotted these in the sand, so this one should come as no surprise. As you’ll see when we get to #1, plastic bottle caps are made even more dangerous to wildlife when they break up into smaller, more consumable, pieces, which they do easily — so grab ’em while they’re big.

Use instead: your reusable drink bottle! If you want something fizzy to go with your fish and chips, opt for aluminium cans or make your own fizz at home. Milk-bottle tops are frequent offenders in this category, so find out whether you have a local spot that will refill glass bottles.

Cigarette butts SCL_Auckland Council Staff Day@Taumanu Reserve_21.04.21_99

#6: Cigarettes, butts & filters

14,590 items, 4.2% of all items

We’re pretty sure that a lot of people we see flicking their cigarettes out the window don’t realise that CIGARETTE BUTTS AND FILTERS DO NOT BREAK DOWN! Sorry for the shouty caps, but this one we really want to shout from the rooftops. They also leach gross toxins into the water and can be consumed by marine life. Ugh. 

Use instead: well, we’d love to suggest you stop smoking because we care about you. But if you must, an easy solution is carrying an empty mint tin as a portable ashtray. Note that vaping is no better — we find a lot of those refill cartridges on the beach too.

DSC08987-ret

#5: Unidentifiable soft plastic fragments

15,131 items, 4.4% of all items

You know what we’re not finding many of anymore? Plastic bags, thanks to 2019’s ban! But we’re still finding bits of them, just more and more broken up. Any plastic that spends time out in the elements will break up and become unidentifiable (and easier for marine life to swallow). These ‘unidentifiable’ pieces were originally items such as food wrappers, pallet wrap — any soft-plastic packaging, really.

Use instead: this is a big category, so there’s no single answer. But we recommend you pay a visit to your local bulk shop and see which items you would happily swap the packaged version for and build it from there. Also, if you’re at the beach and have plastic packaging to dispose of, consider taking them home rather than use the beach bins — soft plastics are expert escape artists, especially when caught by a sea breeze.

Rope Rangitoto 27:03:2021 Irena Cima0 copy_resized

#4: Rope (plastic)

16,260 items, 4.7% of all items

The number-four most commonly found plastic on our beaches is plastic rope! You’ve probably seen the havoc rope can cause to marine life minding their own business, with the devastating result often found washed up on our beaches. Rope is all over our coastline (by weight it ranks #1) and there’s even more floating in the moana.

Use instead: rope made of natural fibre (e.g. hemp) has been used for ocean expeditions for centuries, so there’s no reason we can’t make this switch! It’s still important to be responsible with its disposal when it reaches the end of its life. If you don’t use rope in your day-to-day, you can help out by removing it from the beach when you see it, and if there’s too much, tell your local council.

Polystyrene takeaway

#3: Polystyrene insulation or packaging

16,409 items, 4.8% of all items

Taking out the bronze medal for most commonly found plastics on the beach is the crowd-favourite: polystyrene! Ever taken a sip out of a polystyrene cup and accidently taken a bite out of it? No…? Anyway, you know how easily this rubbish breaks up, making infiltrating our ecosystems light work.

Use instead: Happily, polystyrene takeaway containers are being phased out in late 2022 as part of the government’s plan to tackle problem plastics. So fingers crossed we see this knocked off the podium soon! If your local takeaway still uses these containers, take along your own container and kindly remind them of the upcoming ban.

5IVHQ 2019

#2: Food wrappers

24,127 items, 7% of all items

Imagine you’re a honu, a sea turtle, cruising the ocean, looking for a feed. An amorphous object catches your eye. A jellyfish — awesome. You chow it down, but it’s tasteless, hard to swallow, and who knows what it’s going to do to you. It’s a food wrapper, and these make up some of those ‘soft plastic fragments’ we saw at #5.

Use instead: Get some reusable produce bags, visit your local bulk store with some refillable containers, and maybe let your fav brands know you’re keen to move away from plastic. Getting in the habit of prepping your own snacks at home is also a great way to save plastic (and money).

Plastic waste breaks down into tiny pieces which are consumed by marine animals

#1: Unidentifiable hard plastic fragments

92,043 items, 26.9% of all items

*Note that we only count items over 5mm in size, so this does not include microplastics.

Taking out the top spot is the hard-to-say (and even harder to digest) unidentifiable hard plastic fragments! You’ve probably seen the news articles on toroa (albatross) parents regurgitating plastic fragments for their chicks. The longer a piece of plastic is out in the elements, the more fragile it becomes, and when it breaks up, it’s much more likely to be swallowed by our beautiful marine life.

Use instead: unidentifiable hard plastic fragments are made up of lots of different types of products, so there’s no single answer. But the ubiquity of these fragments is a great motivation to reconsider any plastic you use in your daily life. Getting plastic out of our lives (and our moana) is a journey for all of us, so don’t be too hard on yourself if there’s something you can’t give up just yet. Start small and build from there!

All the best for your plastic-free journey! For more Plastic Free July inspiration and tips, check out our resources below, or explore more litter data at the Litter Intelligence Insights page.

Programme Coordinator

Job Description

Love our coastlines? Want to play a key role in restoring and protecting them? Are you community focused with an epic ability to bring people together towards a shared kaupapa? If you’ve had experience working with community groups and mana whenua and ideally in the environmental space and you are based in Christchurch – you could be just the people we’re looking for.

About Us

Established in April 2009, the Sustainable Coastlines Charitable Trust is a multi award-winning New Zealand charity that exists to connect people to nature and inspire change. Our long-term, shared vision is to restore the mauri for our moana and our mission is to support communities around Aotearoa to prevent litter and restore waterways. We want to see beautiful beaches / oneone kōrekoreko, healthy waters / waiora and inspired people / tāngata whakaohooho. We believe we can be part of a solution, working with local communities,  government and business across Aotearoa and the world.

We deliver and support large-scale coastal clean-up events, educational programmes, public awareness campaigns, catchment-based freshwater restoration and citizen science activities to collect environmental data. We also enable others by supporting ‘Do It Yourself’ efforts and training groups to run their own events.

The Role

We’re looking for a new member of our programmes delivery team to facilitate the rollout of the “on-the-ground” components of the Love Your Water and Love Your Coast programmes, in conjunction with colleagues, to deliver the world-class mahi Sustainable Coastlines is known for.

This position will require specialisation within the Love Your Water space with the expectation that our planting, maintenance and monitoring projects are always working to best practice and are established in collaboration with local community groups and mana whenua.

Working with the support and guidance of our Programme Manager, the purpose of this position is to coordinate and implement waterway restoration projects, with a focus on the Porirua catchment, as well as lead Love Your Coast beach clean-up projects and campaigns across the wider Wellington region. This includes but is not limited to: school education and events, corporate events, sponsor projects, monitoring and evaluation, training and support and training workshops.

There will be an expectation to support other Sustainable Coastlines programmes (such as Litter intelligence programme) when and where necessary, with regular travel between Wellington and Porirua and some travel to other parts of Aotearoa when needed. The position will require you to attend events at weekends a number of times during the year.

Personal Attributes

  • Creativity and strong problem-solving skills with the ability to think on your feet.
  • A growth mindset and a commitment to learning.
  • Level headedness and a good sense of organisation.
  • A commitment to the mission, vision and values of Sustainable Coastlines and a strong connection to the ocean.
  • An enthusiastic interpersonal style that fosters great relationships with colleagues and external partners.
  • Confidence in presenting and talking with large groups and building relationships with a range of stakeholders, including community groups and mana whenua.
  • Ability and desire to travel domestically and be on the road on a regular basis.
  • Initiative to manage workload remotely
  • A commitment to communicating clearly and collaboratively on shared projects and events with close colleague

Skills & Experience

  • Some industry experience and knowledge, with a view to specialising in community-led restoration projects would be preferable.
  • Some understanding of te ao māori and te reo māori.
  • Ability to work within a budget and to do event planning; a proven history of successfully delivering and reporting on community projects within budget constraints.
  • Demonstrated experience in using digital tools for planning, reporting and communicating.
  • Proven success in the planning, and/or delivery of educational activities and programmes.
  • Excellent ability to manage priorities and communicate effectively.

Values Alignment

Our core values at SC are:

Respect indigenous knowledge – We’re committed to being a better collaborator by increasing our understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, tikanga, te reo, and te ao māori.

Create the high five effect – We motivate people through passion, fun, positivity and a sense of achievement.

Together is better – We’re caring, collaborative, diverse and inclusive.

Strive for brilliance – We’re curious, tech-enabled people, open to new approaches.

Make waves – We focus on high impact solutions and measurable outcomes.

Come join our awesome whānau to support communities to restore waterways and prevent litter. We need a passionate person who loves our coastlines and cares about the communities around them. Being familiar with te ao and te reo would definitely be a plus. If you want to work in an exciting, inclusive, fast-paced non-profit, with a range of additional benefits then we’d love to hear from you.

How to Apply

Email your CV and cover letter to Rachel: rachel@sustainablecoastlines.org by 20 April 2022

Job Category: Environment / Conservation. Job Type: Full-Time. Job Salary: $55,000 – $59,999 • Full time  Closes: 20 April, 2022

What does a container return scheme mean for litter in the environment?

On 13 March, the government announced its proposal to overhaul current recycling and waste management. It proposes to standardise recycling across Aotearoa, food waste collections for business, and a container return scheme.

Sustainable Coastlines CEO, Josh Borthwick, thinks that the container return scheme is a positive move, but that more can be done to reduce litter in our environment.

“The container deposit scheme has been a long time coming! It’s a huge win in incentivising people to keep plastic, aluminium and glass out of our landfills, and ultimately our moana. It gets us another step closer to a circular economy, where products are produced and reproduced with a view to managing their entire lifecycle, rather than the waste-based economy we find ourselves in today. 

So this is a step in the right direction, but at Sustainable Coastlines we still see recycling as a last resort — we envision a future where single-use is a thing of the past.”

What kind of impact might the government’s proposed container deposit scheme have on the litter that we find on our clean-ups? We crunched some numbers on the Litter Intelligence insights page, and found that 7.68% of litter items our volunteers find on beach surveys relate to the items proposed in the deposit scheme. That percentage comprises more than 20,000 pieces of single-use rubbish related to drinks.

Will a container deposit scheme make this number smaller?

If people are incentivised to put this litter in the right place, we’re hopeful that much less of it will end up in the environment. However, much more needs to be done to move away from single-use items as much as possible, especially plastics. Aotearoa has great opportunities to adopt reuse schemes on a large scale.

Consultations on the container return scheme and the other proposed waste measures are open until 8 May. You can let the Ministry for the Environment know your thoughts at this link.

The stats

Beverage-related items found on Litter Intelligence beach surveys. Learn more at insights.litterintelligence.org

Note: this article was updated on 11 May 2022 to include ‘Glass bottles and jars’ in the statistics. New statistics are correct as of that date.

Plastic bottle caps & lids — 4.05 %
Glass bottles & jars — 1.05 %
Plastic bottles <= 2 L — 0.67 %
Plastic bottle neck rings — 0.56 %
Plastic bottle seals & tabs — 0.51 %
Aluminium drink cans — 0.46 %
Metal Bottle caps, lids & pull tabs — 0.38 %
= 7.68%

Celebrate Kiwi kids taking action to protect our moana this Seaweek

[Press release] Kiwi charity Sustainable Coastlines is raising funds to educate children on ocean restoration.

 

Seaweek is Aotearoa’s annual national week devoted to the ocean, and this year, it’s encouraging Kiwis to ‘connect to the sea’. Heeding the call is environmental charity Sustainable Coastlines, which is raising funds for its school education programme, to continue inspiring tamariki to restore the mauri of our moana. Launching its Double Your Donation campaign, Sustainable Coastlines is encouraging donations during Seaweek, as any donations made between 5 and 13 March will be doubled by supporting businesses. 

Sustainable Coastlines’ Litter Intelligence Programme Manager Shawn Elise Tierney urges ocean lovers to take up the appeal, as the positive impact on our tamariki and our moana will be doubled.

“We hold a great responsibility to educate future generations and inspire them to look after Papatūānuku”, says Shawn Elise, “which is why we developed our Litter Intelligence Education Programme (LIEP) to inspire tamariki to look after their local coastline and inform better decisions for a world without litter.”

One of the most rewarding parts of our education programme, according to Shawn Elise, is hearing the success stories from the field, about Kiwi kids taking action, being innovative and implementing the skills the charity has taught them to make a positive difference. Waiheke’s Te Huruhi School, for example, switched problematic ‘compostable’ single-use cups for reusable ones, after discovering that the ‘eco’ cups used at their school were actually PLA (polylactic acid) lined.

“We need to do more than clean up rubbish on the beach: we need to educate future generations to be part of the solution that prevents rubbish from leaking into the environment in the first place”. LIEP is the education programme that does just that — giving teachers and students skills and capabilities in data collection, environmental monitoring, leadership, problem-solving, citizen science, community engagement, influencing techniques, presentation delivery, storytelling and more.

According to the latest World Ocean Assessment report, the ocean is our biggest ally in mitigating climate change, and understanding our impact on it is the first step to protecting it. Litter Intelligence was created to collect critical data on the impact of litter on our coastlines. “We cannot improve what we do not measure, which is why our Litter Intelligence education programme and associated data is so important. We know that data empowers action and we want to empower our rangatahi with data to take action for the places that are important to them”, says Shawn Elise.

Sustainable Coastlines intern, Nakita, gives a ‘Love Your Coast’ presentation to children from Hobsonville Primary in 2021.

“Thanks to the generous matching donors for our Double Your Donation campaign, we’re well on our way to meet our $20,000 goal, to help fund our educational work”. 

The companies involved are APL, Hirepool, Pit Stop, Hyundai NZ and WaterSmart. They are all New Zealand–owned businesses who understand the urgency in looking after our environment by educating future generations and are putting their money behind this epic cause. 

The funds raised through the Double Your Donation campaign will allow the charity to fund LIEP and continue inspiring groups like Te Iti Kahurangi Kāhui Ako, a community of 10 schools, with varying age groups, in Onehunga that has committed to looking after the local coastline that unites the students along the Manukau Harbour. Or Opoutere School, where LIEP inspired two students to hone in on their shared hobby, skateboarding. The students are now moulding skateboard deck rails out of recycled plastics, and even looking to market their product in the future. And Maraetai Beach School, whose entire environmental group wrote and produced a rap to highlight the pollution problem in Aotearoa. 

“These success stories are truly inspiring, and with your help we can continue motivating our tamariki to take action. So please, help us out this Seaweek — $5, $50, $500, whatever you want to donate helps us to fulfill our mission to connect people to nature and inspire change”, adds Shawn Elise. 

“You can double your donation by donating during Seaweek, and we can double our impact for our moana!”

Camden Howitt wins Sustainability Superstar Award

 

Camden Howitt is Co-Founder and Programmes Director of multi award-winning charity Sustainable Coastlines. He is also a founding member of Aotearoa Plastic Pollution Alliance and an Edmund Hillary Fellow. He is a passionate advocate for our oceans and a driving force behind community solutions.

Since 2008, Sustainable Coastlines has delivered large-scale coastal clean-ups, education and data collection activities around Aotearoa New Zealand. Camden leads strategy, fundraising and design. He manages national and international stakeholder relationships. He also raises the profile of the cause through media and speaking opportunities.

Camden on a remote Fiordland beach conducting a Litter Intelligence survey in May 2021.

A regular contributor to national, regional and global dialogue on marine litter, Camden relentlessly pushes for innovative solutions. He has twice addressed the United Nations at its headquarters in New York, and presented at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.

Camden has devoted 12 years to designing, delivering, refining and scaling Sustainable Coastlines’ work to connect more people to nature and inspire positive change. Without his communication and influencing skills, the organisation would not have achieved the level of recognition and influence it has around Aotearoa New Zealand. His dedication makes a difference to communities, government policy and our environment every day.

Congratulations to all the other Sustainable Business Awards finalists and winners. See the full list here.

Government continues support for groundbreaking litter data
on the build-up of plastic in our environment

 

New Zealand’s first national coastal litter database, Litter Intelligence, was first launched in 2018 by Sustainable Coastlines, as part of a three-year deed with the Ministry for the Environment (MfE). In light of the success of the programme, the government has awarded a one-year extension to continue the much needed data collection to help inspire action and work towards a litter-free Aotearoa.

Litter Intelligence is a long-term initiative to help solve the plastic-pollution problem and uses innovative, open-source technology to collect data, provide powerful insights and inspire action. It is helping to build a better understanding of the plastic problem, and has already been used for individual actions, community-led solutions, informing policy and environmental reporting.

Sustainable Coastlines engages with communities around the country and thoroughly trains citizen scientists to collect data on litter while simultaneously inspiring solutions through its nationwide school education programmes and interactive website, insights.litterintelligence.org

Litter Intelligence programme manager, Shawn Elise Tierney says the organisation is really proud of the work they’ve achieved since Litter Intelligence launched in 2018. To date, Litter Intelligence has completed 1,000 surveys of beach, freshwater & stormwater sites across 300 survey areas through 12,535 volunteer hours. It also won the Tech for Good Award at the 2020 Sustainable Business Awards.

“We cannot improve what we do not measure. We launched with the Ministry for the Environment’s brilliant support, and here we continue to work together in light of the successes the programme continues to achieve, time and time again”, adds Shawn Elise.

Community day, Howick, Eastern Beach, Auckland 15 June 2021
Photo credit: Irena Cima Photography

Earlier this year, Litter Intelligence data was used to help inform decision making on the government’s plan to tackle problem plastics and single-use plastic items and provided key evidence to prioritise this proposal.

Of the programme, Hon David Parker, Minister for the Environment has previously said, “The data set that is being provided by Sustainable Coastlines is a huge advantage to the Ministry for the Environment as a public policy tool, as it shows the areas that are most problematic and highlights to us the things that can be fixed.”

Litter Intelligence’s data collection methodology is based on United Nations guidelines and was co-designed alongside the Ministry for the Environment, Stats NZ and the Department of Conservation. The detailed training, combined with user-friendly technology, allows environmental data to be submitted by communities at the highest standard, so it can be used by government agencies for national and international reporting, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The additional funding provided by MfE will enable the charity to continue supporting existing volunteer groups to collect data all over the country, including schools participating in the Litter Intelligence Education Programme (LIEP). It will also continue its quality control measures to ensure the data is rigorous enough for governmental reporting on the state of the environment. Sustainable Coastlines will also continue to offer LIEP Professional Development to educators and run ‘train the trainer’ workshops to expand the programme’s reach.

The funding will also allow for new workstreams to explore how to increase accessibility for tangata whenua, research and develop workshops on using data to take action to effect change, and collaborate with existing interest groups to facilitate data collection for freshwater and stormwater locations. Funding will also support ongoing tech costs.

“The ultimate goal of Litter Intelligence is that data is used to inspire action — at all levels: schools, policy, community infrastructure, product design, etc.,”, adds Shawn Elise.

“The single-use plastic ban announced earlier this year is a good example of this on a government scale but we are also interested in communities using their own local data to effect change in their own neighbourhoods. We thank the Ministry for the Environment for their trust in our platform and cause, and we look forward to another step closer to a litter-free Aotearoa”.

To check out the status of your local beach please visit:
https://litterintelligence.org

To learn more about Sustainable Coastlines please visit:
https://sustainablecoastlines.org

If you’re interested in learning more about the Litter Intelligence programme or becoming a citizen scientist, please visit https://litterintelligence.org 

For enquiries and interviews, contact Shawn Elise Tierney;
shawn@sustainablecoastlines.org mb 022 410 8340

For high res images or video content, contact Helen Adams-Blackburn; helen@sustainablecoastlines.org org mb 021 022 05352

Programme Coordinator

Job Description

Love our coastlines? Want to play a key role in restoring and protecting them? Are you community focused with an epic ability to bring people together towards a shared kaupapa? If you’ve had experience working with community groups and mana whenua and ideally in the environmental space and you are based in Christchurch – you could be just the people we’re looking for.

About Us

Established in April 2009, the Sustainable Coastlines Charitable Trust is a multi award-winning New Zealand charity that exists to connect people to nature and inspire change. Our long-term, shared vision is to restore the mauri for our moana and our mission is to support communities around Aotearoa to prevent litter and restore waterways. We want to see beautiful beaches / oneone kōrekoreko, healthy waters / waiora and inspired people / tāngata whakaohooho. We believe we can be part of a solution, working with local communities,  government and business across Aotearoa and the world.

We deliver and support large-scale coastal clean-up events, educational programmes, public awareness campaigns, catchment-based freshwater restoration and citizen science activities to collect environmental data. We also enable others by supporting ‘Do It Yourself’ efforts and training groups to run their own events.

The Roles

We’re looking for two new members of our programmes delivery team, with one role based in Christchurch.

The Programme Coordinators will deliver the “on-the-ground” components of the Love Your Water, Love Your Coast and Litter Intelligence programmes, in conjunction with colleagues and community groups, to deliver the world-class mahi Sustainable Coastlines is known for, in terms of programme impacts and funder deliverables.

Working with the support and guidance of our Programme Managers, the purpose of this position is to coordinate and implement waterway restoration projects, as well as beach clean-up projects and campaigns and litter survey and audits. This includes but is not limited to: school education and events, corporate events, sponsor projects, monitoring and evaluation, training and support and training workshops. Success in this role looks like professional and well run programmes with strong community presence & support.

Being the local Sustainable Coastlines representative across our programmes will require you to be a community engagement superstar. Alongside planning, running events and reporting on them, as the key contact person for groups in your area you will deliver training activities with schools & community members, enthusiastically deliver presentations & run engagements with personality, and be confident to speak to the issues core to Sustainable Coastlines to a variety of audiences. You will be able to support data collection in freshwater & litter monitoring, as well as clean-up and planting events.

The work will be at times physical & dirty. You’ll be loading utes with trees or rubbish one day and running a Litter Intelligence training workshop with a corporate group the next. Mixed in with office work, your days will always be variable. You will use your adaptability and flexibility to manage priorities well and you’ll bring creative ideas to the table to integrate across programmes.

As you’ll be working across several programmes, you’ll need to be highly organised and excel at communicating proactively. The Christchurch role will work remotely and report to a manager in Auckland, so a particularly high level of initiative is required here.

The position will require you to attend events at weekends a number of times during the year.

Personal Attributes

  • Creativity and strong problem-solving skills with the ability to think on your feet.
  • A growth mindset and a commitment to learning.
  • Level headedness and a high sense of organisation and initiative.
  • A commitment to the mission, vision and values of Sustainable Coastlines and a strong connection to the ocean.
  • An enthusiastic interpersonal style that fosters great relationships with colleagues and external partners.
  • Confidence in presenting/public speaking with large groups
  • Ability to build great relationships with a range of stakeholders, including community groups and mana whenua.
  • Ability and desire to travel domestically and be on the road on a regular basis, including weekends.
  • Reasonable level of fitness to do demanding physical work

Skills & Experience

  • Some industry experience and knowledge, with a view to specialising in community led restoration projects.
  • A good understanding of te ao Māori and te reo.
  • Ability to manage budgets and event planning; a proven history of successfully delivering and reporting on community projects within budget constraints.
  • Strong writing and communication skills.
  • Demonstrated experience in using digital tools for planning, reporting and communicating.
  • Proven success in the planning, and/or delivery of educational activities and programmes, including managing of events logistics
  • Excellent ability to manage priorities

Values Alignment

Our core values at SC are:

Respect indigenous knowledge – We’re committed to being a better collaborator by increasing our understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, tikanga, te reo, and te ao māori.

Create the high five effect – We motivate people through passion, fun, positivity and a sense of achievement.

Together is better – We’re caring, collaborative, diverse and inclusive.

Strive for brilliance – We’re curious, tech-enabled people, open to new approaches.

Make waves – We focus on high impact solutions and measurable outcomes.

Come join our whānau to support communities to restore waterways and prevent litter. We need a passionate person who loves our coastlines and cares about the communities around them. Being familiar with te ao and te reo would definitely be a plus. If you want to work in an exciting, inclusive, fast-paced non-profit, then we’d love to hear from you.

How to Apply

Email your CV and cover letter to Maurine Talpin: maurine@sustainablecoastlines.org by 25 September 2021.

Job Category: Environment / Conservation. Job Type: Full-Time. Job Salary: $50,000–$60,000. Closes September 21, 2021

People have never been more concerned about the plight of our ocean, and sadly, they’re right to be worried — our moana needs our help. Award-winning charity Sustainable Coastlines led an expedition to some of Aotearoa’s most remote beaches to reveal the shocking state of our plastic pollution problem. In light of the findings, it is calling on all Kiwis to take action this World Ocean Day, on Tuesday, 8 June.

World Ocean Day is about coming together to honour and celebrate our shared moana, with a special emphasis on education and awareness. Globally an estimated 11 million tonnes of plastic waste enters the ocean every year, and without urgent action, that amount will nearly triple by 2040. 

Unfortunately, New Zealand’s coastlines do not escape the plastic problem. Sustainable Coastlines was able to quantify litter density at some of New Zealand’s most remote beaches, during an expedition in Fiordland last week. The team were there to set-up survey sites as part of its nationwide litter monitoring programme, Litter Intelligence. In only ten 100 metre stretches of shore, the charity removed 1,586 items totalling nearly half a tonne, 93% of which were made of plastic.

“Despite the isolation, the number-one item found was consistent with the top offender across over 200 survey sites nationwide: Hard plastic fragments. Plastic fragments are ubiquitous in our marine environment due to our addiction to plastic products, and mismanagement of them before, during and after their useful lives,” says Sustainable Coastlines Co-Founder Camden Howitt.

Significant numbers of consumer plastics were found, with plastic bottles the second most common item on Fiordland coastlines, at over 30 times the national average. Large quantities of fisheries-related debris were also washed up, again at levels over 30 times the national average. At 93%, the proportion of plastics found was far higher than the 75% national average — a reminder of the longevity of plastics and their propensity to move long distances on ocean currents.

“Many Kiwis would expect Fiordland’s coastlines to be 100% pure, to be as pristine as they should be,” says Howitt. “Instead these remote spots provide key insights into what the problem would look like nationwide without local action.” Everyday, caring Kiwis walk their local stretch of coastline and do their bit to clean-up. Even in Fiordland, stretches of the coast are cleaned up annually by the Southern Coastal Charitable Trust, who helped Sustainable Coastlines to identify accessible beaches.This is encouraging, but more mahi is needed to cut off the problem at the source by avoiding single-use plastics and preventing plastics from entering our oceans. 

The good news is, the needle is shifting on public attitudes towards waste. According to Colmar Brunton’s Better Futures 2021 report, out of the top ten concerns for Kiwis, three revolve around plastic, waste and landfill. These are clearly common concerns for Kiwis, and through Sustainable Coastlines programmes people can connect with these issues, roll up their sleeves, and do something about it. Howitt calls on Kiwis to do their bit to protect the places they love: “Take action for our moana this World Ocean Day. Change one habit, one behaviour, or one product from your everyday life and reduce your plastic footprint.”

The Fiordland clean-up and survey expedition is part of an ongoing effort established through initial funding from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund, to gain an accurate picture of litter across Aotearoa to help optimise and scale solutions. “We believe that we cannot manage what we do not measure, and this programme provides evidence to inspire data-driven decision-making at all levels to solve our plastic problem,” says Howitt. For full results from the Fiordland litter surveys, and from over 200 other sites around Aotearoa, visit litterintelligence.org