Kin & Kind Meet Take 3 (For The Sea)

As avid beach goers with our kids, we love the clean beach initiative Take 3 For The Sea. We recently caught up with Monica Mudge, head of marketing and communications for #take3forthesea. She lives on the south coast of NSW and in her spare time teaches kids yoga, and how to be environmentally aware. 

1. Tell us about Take 3 and why you’re so passionate about the ethos and reasons why you’re involved?

Take 3 is a simple message that encourages people to simply pick up three pieces of rubbish whenever they visit a beach, waterway or in fact anywhere. Take 3 is such a simple, positive message, that practically anyone can do, which is exactly why I love being involved in this wonderful project. Not only is it beneficial to our environment, it also has so many other benefits to the community and individuals. The act of doing something so simple for our environment empowers people to feel like they can actually make a really positive change and difference. Take 3 has also been a beautiful catalyst for bringing like minded people together in many communities, which has then resulted in other changes within communities that encourages mindful, plastic free and minimal waste living.

2. Australia is ‘Girt by Sea’ and keeping our waterways clean seems so obvious, but why do you think marine debris is such a big issue?

Marine debris is killing our wildlife, it’s polluting our oceans and has made the sea, which is a precious life source for all of us, very sick. Being a volunteer with ORRCA, a whale dolphin and seal rescue organisation, is what really drove that message home to me. After attending several rescues that were as a result of debris ingestion or entanglements, I quickly realised that this is a catastrophic issue that can no longer be ignored. I think our society is starting to understand that marine debris is affecting us all whether it be for the aesthetic reasons, or because it harms wildlife or simply because many people are now ingesting plastic through the seafood that they eat.

3. What do you want your legacy for your children to be?

I can’t help but feel that in such a short time, just within my lifetime, we have latched on to what we felt was a convenient way of living, and plastic, in particular single use plastic has been at the core of that. But now I see the effects in such a short time of that so called convenience and find it sickening, and I don’t feel proud of that at all. Being the mother of two I want to see a world that I can leave behind for them that nurtures our precious planet, it’s resources and all that live on it. I need to work hard now to ensure I leave a legacy for my children that protects what we love, that teaches them to protect what we love and inspires them to live a fully present, mindful life.

4. As parents we have such a responsibility to influence our children. How do you influence your children to be kinder to themselves and their environment?

I feel the main thing that I can do as a parent is lead by example. I love to spend time out in Mother Nature with them and reminding them to be present. My children are now young adults, 19 & 16 and I am so proud of how they have evolved into confident, caring young women who really do care for their environment. I feel to care for your environment, means you need to care for yourself too. My girls have discovered through their own journey that caring for your environment means eating food that is not processed, over packaged and not ethical, it’s conscious living that creates good health and an overall sense of wellbeing.

I also want to show them that it’s important to step outside your comfort zone when it comes to something you are passionate about, which has been my inspiration for positive activism, conservation and education. My girls come along to all of me events, have watched me stand up in front of politicians and councils, have engaged in community service with me and given so much of their time to environmental causes as a result. I try really hard to inspire them and reward them for being involved and never force them. Passion is grown from a seed which needs to be watered, loved and cared for with children, never forced. Then it will grow into something quite magic.

5. As a community, we are always looking for ways to involve kids. What are the best ways to get children involved in caring for the environment?

In my experience starting with getting out there as a family, into the environment whether it be trips to the beach, bush walks, simple afternoon walks at the park, or lying under the trees on the grass in the backyard. Taking the time to slow down and use these times as mindful moments. Getting the kids to smell the ocean, feel the grass under their toes, explore the worms in the vege garden, getting them to connect. Once they start to feel that connection, how the ocean makes them feel as the water touches their face or how the sun feels on their skin, that’s when the connection happens and they understand the real meaning of their environment. Those mindful moments is what shapes their desire to protect what brings them so much joy. Further to that using initiatives such as Take 3, is such a lovely catalyst for creating a positive, healthy habit for our kids to adopt. Once you learn the Take 3 message it becomes a part of your life and is just the start of a journey for many families. Not only can you not step over plastic once the Take 3 message is engrained, you start to look at the rubbish you are picking up and how you might be using them in your own life. You start to question the need for them and so the journey begins where you start to make positive, plastic free changes in your own life. Children get that very quickly once they start. They are our biggest teachers.

6. What’s a great example of Kindness someone has shown you recently?

I am lucky enough to own and run a children’s yoga studio and additionally run conservation workshops for kids as well. Just about every day the kids come running into the studio to tell me their Take 3 stories, so proud and happy. But just the other day one little girl came in especially to give me a gift. She had entered a poem that she had written into a National Writing Competition. She called her poem ‘A kind heart’ and dedicated it to Tidal Yoga Milton. Her poem won and is due to be published in a book soon. The poem was so beautiful it made my heart swell with pride and gratitude. Young Emily explained to me that she started writing it after a mindful meditation we had done during a yoga/conservation workshop I had done. She said she went home and just started writing. The bookmark she gifted me with her poem on it was one of the most beautiful gestures I had ever received.

7. If you could change one thing on this planet today what would it be?

I would take all the plastic and marine debris out of the ocean, ban plastic bags and wish for more plastic packaged free produce on our supermarket shelves.

8. And finally, what three things are exciting/inspiring you right now?

Definitely Take 3. The way in which it has taken on a life of it’s own simply through it’s positivity and simplicity is so beautiful to witness. I like to it as and example, metaphore and inspiration in my own life. Keep it simple and positive. My daughters are also another inspiration of mine right now. One that has just returned from spending eight months on Lord Howe Island, living with the head of Marine Parks and being involved in marine debris reduction activities. Her newfound love for simple living as a result make me feel so proud. The other being my youngest who is only 15 and running a super successful business ‘Young Eco’ making reusable produce bags made from upcycled materials. She is so passionate about reducing plastic bags that she has put all of her energy into making beautiful alternatives that so many people have fallen in love with. She is so full of excitement that she has grown this little passion into a legitimate business and has inspired me with her creativity, marketing, networking and use of social media in really positive, fun proactive way. So much to learn from our kids.

Josie Jones