5 MINUTES WITH… Lorella Doherty from Rethinking Plastic Revolution

Posted by Lisa Cohen-Smith on

Here at Rethink, we are proud to be part of a vibrant community of changemakers, dedicated to looking after the health of our planet. We thought that you might like to meet some of these wonderful people we get to call friends and allies.

In this first Q+A, we chat with Lorella Doherty, the heart and brains behind ‘Rethinking Plastic Revolution,’ a community-based organisation trying to inspire and encourage people to change their relationship with plastic. 

Can you remember the moment Rethinking Plastic Revolution was created & how long you've been around?

Four years ago I was doing a daily beach clean with my family at our local beach. I remember looking over at my children happily playing, and felt such sadness; it seemed no matter how much I collected every day, there was always another bag washed up with the next tide.

I sat down on the rocks, watching my children happily running along the beach and feeling the ocean breeze and just cried. I allowed myself to feel the sadness of plastic pollution and what it was doing to our beautiful earth - the place myself and my family love so much.

In that moment I knew I had to do more than just collect the plastic. I had to work further upstream to stop plastic pollution at the source. That is where Rethinking Plastic Revolution was born in 2015.

What is your core mission?

Rethinking Plastic Revolution's core mission is to raise awareness about ocean plastic pollution through modes of art, action, collaboration, conversation, gratitude and love. We want to inspire, educate and create change in the way people use plastics, and to help people remember they are kaitiaki - here as guardians of Papatūānuku.

What has been your proudest moment with Rethinking Plastic Revolution?

The 10,000 Butts in Ten Days campaign. It was not the actual collecting of the 10,000 cigarette butts that I feel so proud of, that part was actually very quick and easy. It was how far the campaign spread; like nothing I anticipated!

It was featured on seven radio shows, two TV3 shows and two newspaper articles which featured on STUFF; reaching hundreds of thousands of people across Aotearoa. I also won 2019 Seaweek Ocean Champion for the campaign which was pretty special!

Tell us about your next big goal!

My next big goal is to work with my local council to create a holistic plan that tackles cigarette-butt pollution in Taranaki, and use this model as a blueprint for other councils across Aotearoa to hopefully follow suit so we can one day have a cigarette-butt free NZ!

I also wrote a book called Ngātoro, a short story about ocean plastic pollution, which I hope to transform into a children's book in the near future.

Oh, and for Plastic Free July, our Taranaki team is creating a giant whale sculpture made from plastic bottles which is going to be epic!

Any words of wisdom?

Never be scared to feel the depth and sadness of environmental atrocities. Don't let the sadness dwell, but allow it to flow through you and instigate change our world so needs.

Your favourite Rethink product & how you use it?

The Star Net bag! I call it my Mary Poppins bag because it fits so much in it! It has happily carried watermelons and pumpkins home from the supermarket! Or 5 full drink bottles and towels to the beach.

The quality is incredible and I really value companies that operate with high levels of integrity over the sustainability of their products, materials and packaging; and care for the people that make them.



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