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An Interview with Purple Turtle Co's Co-Founder: Jason Baldwin
How did the idea for Purple Turtle begin?
As I had a lot of time to burn in hospital, I decided to pull out my laptop and go on a week-long journey of researching and educating myself about the facts of sustainability and waste. From a combination of what I had learnt, accompanied by my love for animals, nature and wildlife, I quickly decided that I wanted to put my skills to good use and make a real change to the way the world operates.
What were your motivations for creating the organisation?
What does your work encompass?
As Purple Turtle is powered by our community, my role in the organisation is solely to facilitate projects, ensure our core values are maintained in everything we do, and to lead the direction of the organisation. All the amazing work we do, including content creation, product design and research, all comes from the hard work and dedication of our community.
How do you approach your education outreach?
Knowledge is key. Without education, it is near impossible to change behaviours. So education through content creation is our most powerful tool in creating real change in society. Our content is currently all delivered digitally through our social media channels and website, as with the current global pandemic, people rely so heavily on getting their news and information from digital platforms.
Once we start to get back to some normality, the aim is to start investing more of our time and resources into events and local community projects, providing people with the tools to set up and run projects in their local communities. [These will include] things such as educational talks, local beach clean up events and working with local authorities to launch new projects.
Public awareness of environmental pollution continues to not be reported in mainstream media. Why do you think there is not enough exposure to plastic and water pollution?
What does Purple Turtle hope to achieve in the future?
Attracting other organisations to work with us is also a big part of our future plans, as without collaboration with businesses, we won’t be able to work together on the same path to solutions. Ultimately though, our goal is to help open people’s eyes to the issues, and provide them with easy to implement lifestyle changes. If we can even just reach one new person a day and influence a positive change in their day to day lives, that would be a job well done for our team.
Are there other organisations you would like to collaborate with?
I think as a team we are all very impressed with what Precious Plastic are doing. They very much fall into the ‘Provide the Tools’ part of our strategy. They are giving people the platform and tools to create sustainable businesses and reduce plastic waste through product manufacturing. If we could maybe partner with them in some way in the future that would be awesome. If you haven't checked them out already, please do so.
What positive changes can we make in our daily lives?
There are so many things I could list, but the list would go on forever. The key is to find small changes over time that you can implement into your daily lives. Trying to change a million things at once can be quite overwhelming. The easiest way to start is to critically question everything you buy and throw away on a daily basis. Ask yourself, is there a more sustainable option? Do I really need this? Could I repurpose this?
The other thing you can do which will have a real impact is simply just having a conversation about sustainability and living a sustainable lifestyle with friends and family. The more conversations and interactions we have with people, the more chance we have of people taking something from the conversation and making a change in their day to day life.
Some people believe their actions won't make a difference. What would you say to encourage them that their actions do make a difference?
This is a classic example of game theory. All people need to do is be responsible for their own actions. Don’t think about what other people are doing because there will always be people out there who make bad decisions in life. If we focus on what we are doing as an individual, and help spread positive information where we can, that will be a huge impact.
Taking a forceful approach to someone who is behaving unsustainably never gets perceived well and does not work in my opinion. For example, if you see someone throwing litter on the floor, instead of shouting at them or giving them a dirty look, try simply picking it up in clear view of them, say nothing, and make them realise by themselves that they are in the wrong. Social conformity works best when individuals come to the conclusion by themselves; being told what to do tends to have less impact.
What achievements has Purple Turtle Co made since its creation?
I think our biggest achievement is the amazing team we have managed to build. We have some really inspiring people in our community including content writers, product designers, mechanical engineers, researchers and general support experts. Without the community contributing to our platform we wouldn’t be where we are, or where we are heading.
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