Jack Johnson Beach Clean Up Series Report

20110115-JJ-BCUS-ReportEight cities in 2 countries over 16 days, the frequent flyer points were really starting to add up, and the hours of sleep were starting to go into negative numbers, but this was an opportunity in a lifetime and we weren't about to say no!

Tangaroa Blue was invited to have a display at each of Jack Johnson's 2010 New Zealand and Australian concerts. Not only were we able to promote our organisation and sign up new volunteers, but we were given concert tickets and signed merchandise for fundraising and any donation that was received would be matched, dollar for dollar, by Jack Johnson's All At Once organisation (up to US$2500, pending approval by CAFAmerica).

To contribute to this awesome opportunity Tangaroa Blue decided to run a beach cleanup in each city that we visited and with the help of 148 volunteers, more than 12,460 pieces of marine debris were removed from coastlines around the region! Marine debris is a known threat to our marine ecosystem. A humpback whale calf caught in a fishing net; a turtle with 76 pieces of plastic in its intestines; a southern right whale with cray rope caught around its tail; and a sea lion with packing tape strangling its throat. An estimated 46,000 pieces of plastic float in each square mile of ocean impacting more than 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million seabirds each year. Every piece of marine debris that we remove from the ocean environment is one piece that will not impact a marine animal.

The tour started in New Plymouth in New Zealand. I flew into Auckland on the red eye flight and then straight onto Taranaki. I still had a few tickets left to raffle off for that night's concert and I was sizing up the guy sitting next to me on the plane, who looked like a bit of a musician. I tried to start up a conversation with him to see if he was keen to go into the draw for tickets to the concert, but he was totally engrossed in a program on his phone so I never got the chance. Luckily, for as we disembarked from the plane I realised that Jack Johnson was also on the flight, and the "muso" that I almost tried to sell a ticket to was actually Zach Gill – the pianist in the Jack's band!

The concert was held at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands an amazing outdoor venue in the city's main park and the crowd was treated to a really awesome show, with even the obligatory concert goer ending up in the river that divides the stage with the audience. He received a high five from Jack before being escorted away by security.

The next day local Tangaroa Blue volunteers in Waitara rallied the troops for the first of our beach cleanup events. 19 volunteers removed 1145 items of debris, weighing over 100kg from East Beach in just a couple of hours setting the standard for the rest of the tour!

Next stop was Christchurch, where the locals are still dealing with the effects of the earthquake; the city shows cracks in many of the buildings and roads. But Christchurch came out to party, and the second concert was also a huge success.

Windy and rainy conditions prevailed the next morning for our Spencer Park Beach Clean Up, but this didn't deter our hardy volunteers Rosemary, Barry and Joanna. Half way along the beach we met up with students and teachers from Arauni Primary School who were visiting the beach for a sandcastle making competition. A few minutes later they decided that assisting with our beach cleanup was also a great activity, and the extra hands enabled us to remove 1027 items in just an hour!

Auckland was next on the schedule, and thanks to family members, we ran both a cleanup at Mechanics Bay which removed another 530 bits of rubbish from the coast and held our stand at the Vector Arena.

Then was the long haul flight over to Perth, on Australia's west coast. This is where Tangaroa Blue was really given a treat! Our beach cleanup event was held at Cottesloe Beach, where members of the local Surf Lifesaving Club joined in to help clean up their patch and were thanked for their efforts when Jack Johnson and Zach Gill made a surprise visit to help out. After riding their bikes down from Scarborough, they helped remove over 2070 pieces of debris from the beach and then generously donated tickets to all the volunteers.
16hrs in Adelaide saw a beach cleanup with Dan & Emily at Semaphore Beach where in just an hour we carried off 428 bits of rubbish. A quick sort and count and then straight to the Entertainment Centre for the concert still covered in sand, and then back to the airport at 8am the next morning!

In Melbourne Tangaroa Blue had the chance to meet up with 3206 Beach Patrol, Two Hands Organisation, St Kilda Environment Centre and the Surfrider Foundation Melbourne Branch to workshop our ongoing Victorian Beach Clean Up Initiative as well as run an event at Kereferd Road Pier. A horrifying 2386 items of debris was collected in just 200m including 203 drinking straws, 26 parking tickets and 238 lids. Plastic resin pellets were also identified in their thousands, and further surveys made along the Yarra River also found large numbers of pellets indicating a possible local source of this type of debris.

The concert held at the Myer Music Bowl was in one word "wet". But even with heavy rain and squalls coming through Jack Johnson fans braved the weather for another awesome concert.

Next stop was Sydney, and we were joined by Eco Divers for a beach and underwater cleanup at Manly Cove. 423 straws and 946 cigarette butts contributed to the 4140 items and 62kg of debris removed from the area. That evening the concert was held at the Domain which is a great venue for a concert and this one was no exception, we were even treated to the Oprah fireworks that went off around the venue during the concert.

I was beginning to grow weary, but only one concert to go and so off to Brisbane I went. A wonderful chance to visit friends and catch up with my husband for our wedding anniversary. We ran our beach cleanup at Nudgee Beach with some very dedicated volunteers who collected 738 bits of rubbish in just an hour!

Tangaroa Blue was absolutely thrilled to be part of the Village Green at Jack Johnson's concerts, and thankful for the opportunity to showcase our non-profit organisation around the country. We were able to fundraise vital donations and sign up over 530 volunteers to help out with our beach cleanup events, but mostly we were able to spread the message of protecting our oceans to thousands of people who will hopefully spread this message further.

A big thank you to all those volunteers that helped us out at the beach cleanup events, to all our supporters in each city that helped out with logistics and Jack Johnson and his awesome crew for all their help. What an amazing trip! To get involved in beach cleanup events visit www.tangaroablue.org