Cedric and I met on a beach clean up for @surfriderbondibeach recently. I was delighted to learn that he’s actually a veteran at picking up rubbish. Cedric came to Australia from South Africa in 2010 and in 2014 he suffered heart problems which lead him to have two stints and a pacemaker put in. His Dr recommended that he get more low impact exercise every day to keep his heart healthy. He started walking along the beach every morning. Soon he noticed how much plastic and rubbish was there and started to pick it up. For the last five years if you go to Bondi Beach at 6:30am everyday you will see Cedric with his whoolies bag picking up anything that might make the beach look untidy. Cedric has appeared in the Wentworth Courier with his story and now he says strangers walk past saying ‘hello Cedric!’ He told me that one lady in her 60’s came up to him to ask him what his inspiration was, he said ‘I’ve always cared about the ocean, but I just needed the exercise too’. Cedric also find discarded beach towels and clothes, washes them and donates them to @thewaysidechapel to be reused. He now starts the Fluro Friday mornings by @onewaveisallittakes , a sunrise session that aims to raise awareness for mental health, with short inspirational quotes for the runners involved. In his younger years, back in South Africa helped to establish his own organisation called Outward Bound. A group that taught 16yr kids survival skills. This was the first organisation to involve both white and black children, leading the way for the dissolution of apartheid in the 1980’s. If you ever see him on the beach, feel free to say hi and help clean up the beach with him!!
I had never heard of Extinction Rebellion until @lala_dolce_vita slid into my dms two months ago to ask for my help. To be honest I thought she was going to be a nut job, but as we sat down at @heartcafebondi we instantly connected. Larissa doesn’t look like your typical activist or protest coordinator. It’s as if they came out with an environmentalist special edition Barbie. Besides the rockstar vibes, she has two degrees. One in history, literature and political science and the other, secondary education. She is currently finishing her Master’s in Journalism. She has been coordinating social justice and pro-democracy events for years, as well as fighting passionately for all fields of environmental protection, especially the ocean. Larissa believes that all injustice is connected, including climate injustice. XR has 3 demands, that the government tells the truth, that it acts now on the climate emergency and that the climate crisis is beyond politics. XR is huge in the UK and is responsible for shutting down London for several weeks. The UK government declared a climate emergency not long after! XR is becoming bigger in Australia, but unfortunately, we are still way behind the times. Larissa coordinates XR Bondi Beach and has organised a peaceful action on the 22nd of September as a prelude to XR’s Spring actions. She is also working on Waverley Council to declare a climate emergency. Many other Sydney councils have already done this. Although the demands are quite serious, the events are peaceful, inclusive and fun. It will also provide a chance for creatives, friends and families to create powerful content for sharing. This is why XR is different. Larissa understands people don’t like to feel lectured or scared.
If you make emotive content in a way that allows audiences to come to you, that’s how you attract the right support. This is the moment Larissa and I felt that spark, completely on the same path. We are both story tellers, persistent, passionate and I have a lot to learn from her. Just seeing how many valued friends and colleagues showed up to the Amazon Protest in the city last week that she organised, in the pouring rain, to support the cause was heart warming. I believe we will be good friends/rebels for a long time. Xoxo Bin Chookie.
Jason ‘Jman’ - Not all heroes wear capes, some of them fly drones. The story behind @dronesharkapp
Just passed the iconic Bondi Icebergs, every morning at 8am you’ll see 3 men sitting on a rock, 2 drones flying overhead and a sign that says @dronesharkapp ‘shark spotting for surfers and swimmers’. Most people would assume it’s a hobby, but this is a story of friendship, resilience and sacrifice. There’s an octopus that will lay it’s eggs in a secluded cave, protecting them, without feeding for 8 months. As they start to hatch, the octopus would have already died of starvation in its final sacrifice as it a parent. It’s instinct to love and protect the parts of you that will live on. Jason, the creator of @dronesharkapp suffered a huge loss in his family. The passing of his wife to breast cancer left him to raise his two children alone. Most people would let this swallow them like the sea. And it nearly did. Carlos ‘losman’, Jason’s best friend and business partner had a dream one night that Jason was losing a terrible battle, reaching out for help. After not having spoken for a year, Carlos calls him the next day to ask if he’s ok. To his surprise, he had caught Jason in his most vulnerable hour, devastated at the loss of his wife, raising two kids as a single parent, desperately trying to finish a building job, searching for the answer. Hearing this, Carlos threw in the towel at a high paying job and did what any good friend would do, picked up his tools and helped Jason finish the job. Later on, in a light bulb moment, Jason developed the @dronesharkapp as a way of keeping surfers and swimmers safe in the ocean. They watch over Bondi, saving lives and creating awareness around the local marine life. But, this is only a small reason they get up everyday. Jasons two children, who for obvious reasons suffer depression and anxiety from the loss of their mother. ‘It’s all for them, it’s so my kids can see this and have hope.’ Jason aims to gain a big enough following so that he can expand this service to other beaches, educate millions and build something that can support his kids, that will last long after he’s gone. The final sacrifice as a parent.
Tom and Rupert The story behind @spookedkooks I moved to Bondi to learn how to surf and as fate would have it when I googled recycled plastic surfboards, the only company in the world producing boards like this happened to be @spookedkooks and it was a 4 minute walk from my house. Absolutely stoked, I tried everything to get in touch, but the guys behind these boards are probably the hardest people ever to get in contact with. Tom works full time in construction and planning. Rupert is a lawyer. They share an office with the guys from @groundedpackaging, a biocompostable packaging company on the corner of Old South Head Road. Tom and Rupert met when they were 8. They’ve been dreaming ever since of the perfect surfing trip to the Mentawais in Indonesia. When they got there Rupert was already in the process of starting a surfboard company. They’d been planning this trip for months, the second they landed, they geared up and headed to the nearest beach. They were the most beautiful waves they’d ever seen. Just as they started to paddle out, still riding that high of disbelief that they were even there. The realisation of what was wrong with this picture hit them. To their disbelief plastic waste surrounded them. The high quickly faded. The reality of how much we have effected the ocean hit them hard. They still sent it that day, but when they got back from their trip, they set out to be the worlds first sustainable soft board producers. As most passion projects go they don’t make any money from it. They work long hours throughout the week so they can keep this business going. All the hard plastic, including the fins are recycled. They import post consumer recycled plastic from a North American company in the form of nurdles. Tom happily lent me a board to try before I bought one and they are by far the easiest foamies to get up on. If you are looking for your first board, look no further than @spookedkooks. They are also high key the biggest legends in the whole world. I still use their surf boards to this day and refuse to buy or sell another one.
Adam Axford – The EnvironMENTALIST’
Adam and I met at a winter party at my job in the rocks in early June. I finished work, heard there was a magician performing, promptly sculled three espresso martinis and then hunted him down to demand magic from him. All of my co-workers raved on about how crazy his tricks were. But the first thing I noticed was his t-shirt that read ‘reduce, reuse, recycle.’ At this point I was only carrying around a metal straw. Adam performed a series of mind-blowing tricks. I was so impressed that I actually got scared a straw might have appeared out my ass. Convinced that he was a god by this point (espresso martinis helped a lot obviously), for his last trick he pulled a metal straw out of thin air. I screamed and pulled my metal straw out of bag and we laughed. A few weeks later, the plastic free journey was well under way and we connected through Instagram again after finding out he performed on Bondi radio at my other job. We met up at @heartcafebondi and talked about how he got here and what we could do for each other. We had a vision of making videos together, approaching people on the street with reusable items for @plasticfreejuly. Everything came together when we asked a local videographer @_archermedia_ to film everything and the magic blossomed from there. Approaching as many brands as we could, such as, @zenify.earth, @bambuubrush and @coffeecliq, inventing tricks and talking points for each company, Adams natural ‘sass’ (absolute savage) came out and our on camera chemistry made the final content well worth the time and effort from everyone involved.
Adam moved from London to Sydney in 2014 to start his career as a magician. After 5 years he’s managed to support himself solely through his passion for magic. It’s pretty clear that a lot of people go through life with blinkers on, oblivious to what is important. Adam could have done the exact same tricks, with the exact same routine but without the environmental message. Early last year a friend helped him to see the ‘why’ in his work. Adam had fallen in love with Sydney and it’s pristine beaches by this point, having grown up in a busy city. He soon became ‘the environmentalist’ – using magic and ‘mentalism’ to promote positive messages about sustainability, society and the environment in general. His ‘how a magician recycles’, on YouTube gained popularity and soon caught the attention of local councils. Now, more than 15 councils across Sydney have booked Adam to share this message. Across the board, a lot of creative people find themselves stuck doing boring work, just to pay the bills. As soon as he started to incorporate his passion for the environment into his routine, he felt completely liberated. Adam is the perfect example of someone whose changed his entire life by not only attracting the right audience, but the right people. When we were filming on Bondi Beach, we had no idea what we were doing or where it would take us, but I felt my life changing. His passion and commitment completely rubbed off on me. Although Adam might lack the patience needed to deal with stupid people, he more than makes up for it in passion. I owe Adam a deep thanks for teaching me how to incorporate my passion for saving the planet into every aspect of my life. Adam recently received his permanent residency and couldn’t be happier with changing the way people think about sustainability, one magic trick at a time. Sustainability truly is magic.