For Ian Kiernan, restoring and preserving the country’s precious environment was more than a vision. It was a sincere and profound mission. The late founder of Clean Up Australia believed in taking action together to protect and preserve our world for a better future – his mantra: “We’re all in this together”.
“From the beginning, Ian was very focused on making sure that everyone understood that we are all part of the problem, therefore we all have to be part of the solution,” Terrie-Ann Johnson, managing director of Clean Up Australia explained.
“The real beauty of what Ian did was showing people how to do something about a problem and to see the results.”
Full of passion and spirit, Ian wasn’t only the beloved founder and chairman of Clean Up Australia, he was also a keen environmentalist and yachtsman. Sadly, after a short battle with cancer, he passed away on October 16, 2018.
Before his passing one of Ian’s requests was that, rather than sending flowers, people support his passion and commitment by making donations to Clean Up Australia.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Clean Up Australia Day, and in honour of Ian, millions of volunteers with grab a bag and get together to step up and do their part by joining one of many community Clean Up events.
Clean Up Australia Day is the nation’s largest community-based event, and last year more than 680,000 volunteers removed over 15,000 ute loads of rubbish from the 6,901 registered locations across the country.
But Clean Up Australia is more than just volunteers picking up rubbish. The charity works with communities, businesses, schools and governments all year round to reduce rubbish and fix waste problems.
Having created one of the nation’s most successful grassroots movement, with its mission embedded into global culture, Ian believed Clean Up events belongs to the millions of volunteers who have taken to their streets, beaches, parks, bushlands and waterways to remove the rubbish that was bothering them and affecting the environment.
In a 60 Minutes interview, Ian said: “The thing I like best about [Clean Up Australia] is that it’s the people who own it. When I go to Perth or Hobart or Melbourne, they say, ‘Let us tell you what we’re doing about Clean Up Australia Day this year.’ They own it. I think that does a lot for the country: to remind us that we are all Australians.”
Ian’s noble initiative leaves behind a country – and a world – that’s much cleaner than it would be had he not founded the not-for-profit.
Clean Up Australia Chairman Pip Kiernan said Australia creates 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, with only 12% of it being recycled and the remaining ending up in our parks, roadsides, bushlands, waterways, oceans or in landfill as rubbish.
“For 30 years now we’ve been cleaning up Australia. But Australians are creating more waste than ever, so we need more help. If people are unable to join a Clean Up on March 1, they can step up by donating to help us all year round,” Ms Kiernan said.
All funds raised are allocated to the provision of educational resources and clean up materials provided free of charge to communities, schools and youth groups across the nation all year round.
To lend a helping hand with this year’s Clean Up, register at Clean Up Australia to help do your bit for a better future.