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This Is Northern New South Wales

Tim Silverwood – Take 3!

Tim Silverwood : Photo – Lisa Lowenborg

Tim Silverwood is one passionate man. He is an Environmentalist, Surfer, Filmmaker, and co-founder of ‘Take 3’ a non-profit organisation formed in 2009 that asks visitors to beaches and waterways to simply take three pieces of plastic rubbish with them when they leave.

Tim is currently travelling up the coast hosting screenings of the new, award-winning environmental documentary “Bag It”, at locations across Sydney, Newcastle, and soon to be Byron Bay on Thursday June 16th, with a show at the Byron Bay Cummunity Centre (7pm). Tickets sold here.

Common Ground got these words from Tim in eve of his arrival..

“As with the majority of Australian kids I was lucky enough to grow up with the beach in my life. From a 3 year old paddling in lagoons and rock pools to later spending eight hours a day as a teen chasing micro-tubes on my boogie board until my fingers looked like Grandmas. Surfing is more than a sport for most of us, we might not think about but that time spent immersed in the relaxing vulnerability of the true great power – the ocean is meditation. The ocean fixes me…always.

I grew up on the Central Coast of NSW, an area with great waves and relatively pristine beaches. I didn’t have one local wave, I had a variety on my doorstep and I always took ownership of issues affecting the beauty of those places. Even as a grommet I’d paddle out past the line up to collect a floating bait packet and slip it up my wetsuit sleeve, I’d feel cruelly done by if I missed a good wave in the process. A few years ago when I was travelling overland through Asia I was hit with the harsh reality that the problem of plastic pollution stretched way beyond my local beach. Unfortunately in parts of the developing world like India where plastic is a relatively new form of packaging (traditionally everything was wrapped in biodegradable material) and there is no education on the harm it can cause when dumped, entire landscapes are full of trash and an immense quantity is entering the ocean.  On my return to Australia I felt compelled to make a change. After collaborating with some other surfers and marine biologists on the Central Coast we launched ‘Take 3 – A Clean Beach Initiative‘, a non-profit organisation that asks all visitors to beaches, waterways and coastal areas to take three pieces of rubbish with them when they leave. It’s a simple gesture that can greatly reduce the amount of plastic entering the ocean. If 1% of the Australian population took 3 pieces from the beach once a week we’d be looking at potentially 39, 000, 000 less pieces of plastic in the ocean each year. Who says one person can’t make a difference!


I feel so passionate about the problems of plastic pollution that I’ve decided to focus on the issue wholly for the near future. I’ve resigned from my promising career in environmental management to sail across the North Pacific Ocean with a team of international researchers to investigate the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a continent sized swirling vortex of debris floating menacingly in the ocean between Hawaii and North America. I’m planning on making a documentary and gathering a swathe of images and information to continually promote the issue and the things we can all do to reduce the problem.

The film I am showing in Byron Bayon the 16th June “Bag It” is a great start, it shows that all of us can reduce their plastic footprint by making simple informed decisions. Start with cutting out plastic bags and then see just how much ridiculous single use plastic you can eliminate from your life, it really is scary how much plastic we use.

Tim Silverwood : Photo – Lisa Lowenborg

I love visiting Byron Bay, every time I roll into town a warm blanket falls over me. I feel surrounded by a cloud of positive energy, a legacy of the good ‘ol days, there is definitely a higher level of environmental conscious amongst the community in the Shire. I’m actually quite shocked that plastic bags haven’t been banned from Byron yet, it’s happening all around the country and the world. I think the 16th June might be the perfect opportunity to start a Ban the Bag movement, let’s ALL try and reduce our plastic footprint. I’d love to see as many local faces at the event as possible so come along and be inspired and be informed. We can all make a difference.”

Bag It” is screening in Byron Bay on Thursday June 16th, at the Byron Bay Cummunity Centre (7pm). Tickets sold here.