Photo by Greg Martin
Photo by Ian Lean
Marketing and communications officer
'surfers against sewage'
Where do you work?
I am the Marketing and Communications Officer for Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) based in Cornwall.
When did you become interested in the environment?
I was lucky enough to grow up in the heart of Cornwall with a fun-loving, adventure-seeking family. If I wasn’t in the water with my big brother, I was up a hill, or in the garden making magic potions out of plants. I was aware of the incredible beauty all around me from a very young age.
We had about eight different bins in the kitchen because my Dad was a militant recycler and made his own compost to grow our vegetables. Absolutely nothing went to waste and it’s something I’ve adopted ever since.
What does your role involve?
Marketing and Communications is quite a varied field. There isn’t really a typical day. Sometimes I’ll be working on fun content for our social media channels, other times I’ll be taking calls from Sky and BBC wanting to feature us on their plastic pollution stories, and sometimes I’ll be helping to organise events or working with brands to launch collaborative projects. I do have to do all of the normal mundane things too, like emails, spreadsheets and reporting!
I love making videos. They go down really well with our followers and they allow me to be really creative. I also love anything else creative like writing and photography. Weirdly, I also quite like the reporting sides of things. There’s something really satisfying about looking back over the past month, knowing you’ve worked really hard and seeing the reach, engagement or press mentions reflect that.
What are the focus points for you and SAS?
The following pages contain loads of interesting information:
Plastic Free Communities: www.plasticfree.org.uk
Plastic Free Schools: https://www.sas.org.uk/our-work/education/
We’re also continuing our work with water companies to monitor water quality and alert the public of any sewage incidents in real-time via our Safer Seas Service: https://www.sas.org.uk/map/
Other projects involve putting pressure on industry and government to improve their approach to single-use plastic. We’ve had some pretty major campaign victories recently and we need to make sure that that pressure is maintained and the vital work is carried out:
There are many things we encourage the public to get involved with which make a difference:
• Join a beach or river clean, or do your own #MINIBEACHCLEAN - https://www.sas.org.uk/our-work/beach-cleans/
• Lead a Plastic Free Community and help your college, uni, village, town or city reduce its plastic footprint – www.plasticfree.org.uk
• Download your Individual Action Plan to say goodbye to avoidable, single-use plastics - https://www.sas.org.uk/get-involved/
• Become a member, volunteer or fundraise for SAS - https://www.sas.org.uk/donate/
What is your fondest memory in your role?
My fondest memory was when Surfers Against Sewage’s Plastic Free Communities campaign won the Environment Award at the 2018 Charity Awards in London (see picture above!). It was a very proud moment for the whole team and a huge recognition for all of the incredible voluntary community leaders working hard to reduce the amount of single-use plastic in villages, towns and cities up and down the country.
What advice would you give to passionate young people who want to pursue a similar career to you and protect the environment for the future?
Get work experience, volunteer, do anything you can to get into the workplace and get known. Organise a beach clean, be active in your community - if there is a group that does something you believe in, join it. Getting the marks at school, college or uni is all well and good, but showing that you care enough about a cause to actually do something about it is even better.
Almost everyone who works at Surfers Against Sewage was a volunteer at some point in time.