Harriet spark

Jul 24, 2018 | Do Gooders

Heard of passion mashing? Harrriet Spark has mashed her love for snorkelling with her passion for making sea turtles less grumpy. And we saw her #STRAWkle on War on Waste Season 2, episode 1. 

Where’s your ‘hood?

I live near Manly in Sydney.

Why it’s so good?

The marine sanctuary and beaches.

Sometimes it can feel like your fighting the good fight alone. In Manly we have a strong community of people who care and so much good stuff going on, which leaves me feeling empowered and inspired. We’ve also got the marine sanctuary, Cabbage Tree Bay on our doorstep which is my favourite place to go for a dive and remind me why it’s so important to care for the big blue!

1: Tell me about your campaign

Operation Straw

Operation Straw is a two-part clean-up project designed to tackle single-use plastic in Manly Cove and beyond.

1. We go ‘STRAWkling’, which is a snorkel to collect straws and rubbish

2. We also talk to businesses in the local community to encourage them to reduce the amount of plastic they serve customers.

2: What ‘moment’ started this journey?

A friend and I used to find HUNDREDS of plastic straws when we went snorkelling in Manly Cove. We used to pop photos of our hauls online and people were shocked.
I wanted to collect the straws from the ocean for a consistent period of time to show people how many were accumulating in our local waterways and it went from there.

3: how did the idea grow?

Originally, we weren’t going to make the STRAWkles a public event.

We didn’t think the community would be that interested.   

We decided to make it into a event which really helped turn Operation Straw into the fun and engaged community it is today!

4: Any Unexpected delights along the way?

I expected to be STRAWkling away every weekend with just a handful of friends, but I’ve been blown away by the community that has grown around this initiative. It’s turned into a really awesome tight-knit group who share the same goals.

5: How can we get involved?

Head to our website to find all the juicy details, and this is where we’ll usually post our Facebook events. You can also follow us on Instagram.

go straw-free

As a customer, you have more power than you think. Let your favourite venue know you’d love for them to stop using plastic straws. 

6: Where to next?

We would love to spread the STRAWkles further afield and get them happening in communities all around Australia. We understand that not everyone lives by the ocean, so we want to bring the STRAWkles inland and host STRAWalks (that’s a walk to collect straws and other rubbish). If you’re interested in being a part of this, get in touch!

7: Tips & Adivce

Keep it simple and choose one issue you want to care about! It can be easy to get so excited to make change and try to do all the things, then end up feeling overwhelmed and like you’ve achieved nothing.

Pick one problem, work out your goal to change it, and go from there.

8: your legacy

What do you hope your legacy will be?

That I’ve successfully contributed to a world where sea turtles are less grumpy and the issues impacting them are somewhat alleviated.

9: staying positive

How do you stay positive when you’re feeling discouraged?

Jump in the ocean for a snorkel or scuba, even when it’s cold! I’ve really found this not only helps me with staying positive in regards to sustainability, but also for my mental health. Nature is so important for our physical and mental wellbeing.

I also love talking to other people in my community doing great stuff and checking out awesome examples of art and design for the planet.

10: favourite quote

“If all we do is clean up, that’s all we’ll ever do.”

Heidi Taylor from Tangaroa Blue said this and it really resonates with me and reminds me how important it is to stop single-use plastic at the source!

Well there you have it, a little Spark to brighten your day. Thank you Harriet! 

Operation Straw is such a perfect example of a community coming together to tackle a problem in a positive way. 

Feeling inspired, but overwhelmed with where to start?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Download our toolkit and let’s get started (Harriet wrote the social media chapter… she’s one of those ridiculously talented people and also runs Grumpy Turtle Design)

Harriet believes in conservation through creative communication. She has worked in communications and design for some of Australia’s leading environmental organisations, including 1 Million Women and Taronga Conservation Society Australia, and has spearheaded several environmental initiatives, the most recent being Operation Straw.

Harriet Spark

Graphic Designer and Communications Specialist, Grumpy Turtle Design

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