COOL PEOPLE DOING COOL THINGS
By Amy Lovat
Merewether mates Kobe Benton and Alessandra Adam are on a mission to keep our beaches clean, encourage others to live more sustainably, take care of our beautiful Mother Earth, and enjoy this little thing called life!
I first came across Merewether Beach Clean during Surfest earlier this year, when I saw them sorting out rubbish and counting straws and coffee cups on the concrete outside Blue Door Café. An initiative run by friends Kobe and Ale, Merewether Beach Clean use Instagram @merewetherbeachclean to drum up local support and involvement in regular beach clean-ups around Newcastle.
Kobe is Merewether born and bred, part of an ocean-loving family, married a surfer and is raising a ‘water baby’ – the beach is her second home and she feels an incredible pull to protect it from human impact. Ale moved to our lovely city about six years ago with her husband, and fell quickly in love with the beaches, wellbeing culture and family atmosphere. They’re both preschool teachers who met through the surfing community and became fast friends, sharing their love of the beach, the environment, and teaching their daughters to pick up rubbish everywhere they went!
‘We have such a cool little community, which has become even more obvious to me since starting our beach clean program. So many people are into it – they want to help out and learn more about what they can do to live more sustainably.’
When did you first have the idea to start Merewether Beach Clean?
We saw through Instagram that we were both picking up rubbish with our daughters at the beach... And what started off as a fun little hang-out became the stepping stones to our beach clean program. It didn’t matter if it worked out or not – we were just happy to be getting together and getting salty, while helping out our marine life and keeping our home town clean.
What inspired you to want to share your work on social media?
After the first beach clean last year, the response we had from families with children was amazing. Everyone was so engaged and proud and with social media, there’s an immediate response. Instagram is our way of connecting with other like-minded individuals and hopefully gaining some more support while spreading awareness. We also wanted to inspire others to do the same – to make small changes! We can all make a big impact when we come together.
Tell me about the most successful (or least successful, depending on which way you look at it!) clean-up you’ve done recently…
Definitely depends on the way you look at it! We would have to say our second clean-up. It was a beautiful sunny day, we set up our home-made sign on the sand, and out came the locals. Two, then four, then 24! Half of them children, which filled our hearts. Everyone returned with a bag full of rubbish and we took a photo together on the beach, which ended up being featured by Take 3 for the Sea (our inspiration!). It motivated us to keep going. We’re so grateful to everyone who contributes to the cause!
Can you share your top tips for living a more sustainable lifestyle?
Grow your own and cook at home more. Recycle, reuse, be part of a community garden, eat less meat, walk or ride a bike, share your electronic devices, leave your phone at home. Spend time in rural areas and in nature with your family. Shop at Scoop at The Junction or the farmer’s markets to buy wholefood with no packaging. A good life motto: ‘less is more’. In a society where we are told we need more, need new, need better, it can be hard to go against the grain, but it’s so worth it.
What does COOL mean to you?
I’ve always loved that saying, ‘It’s cool to be kind’. It speaks to me in so many ways – kindness is a gift we can so easily share and it should be offered to each and every being on this beautiful earth, Mother Nature included! I just think being conscious of your actions and speaking through kindness is really cool; you can potentially make someone’s day, heal someone’s heart, or even save a life.
Read the full interview at www.coolpeoplecoolthings.com