The wicked problem of environmentalism is often the feeling of being greatly outnumbered; in the face of such a complex and miasmic problem as a changing climate or, for example, as much as 2.4 million tonnes of plastic waste floating in a gigantic vortex in the Pacific Ocean, it can be difficult to imagine the how much change individual action can really achieve.
That was the problem two friends - Amanda Marechal and Roberta Dixon-Valk - were mulling on over coffee one day on the Central Coast back in 2009.
They came up with a remarkably simple solution: if everyone took three pieces of plastic waste from the beach every time they visited, that would be a start.
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"It was not going to solve the problem - we knew that," Take 3 CEO Sarah Beard explains. "Just in terms of the environmental crises we are facing on this planet, plastic pollution is just one crisis. But the beauty of Take 3 is that anyone from any background, any age group, any culture can take these really easy steps to tackle a very big problem."
How do you move a mountain? One rock at a time.
Or, in the case of working to preserve the world's oceans, three pieces of plastic at a time.
That one idea proved to be a roaring success and, from two friends over coffee it has since scaled to more than 120 countries.
"Some of the environmental issues we face every day seem insurmountable, but we can still do something about it," Ms Beard says. "The thing about plastic pollution is that you can - right here, right now - stop using singe-use plastics and that will have a huge impact.
"They're real actions that you can take today and know that you are making a difference."
Ms Beard knows abut facing seemingly insurmountable odds. She took the helm of the ocean clean-up organisation Take 3 for the Sea in March after a 30 year career as an environmental filmmaker, when former CEO Tim Silverwood stepped into an ambassadorial role.
The COVID-19 pandemic threw the organisation into turbulence as it did the rest of the world, but Ms Beard said the transition from film to driving the organisation was - like its principles - one step at a time.
"As a filmmaker, I wanted to make stories that would inspire change and participation and action. In my role at Take 3, storytelling - whether it's through film or social media or our own actions, our stories inspire action.
"That's all we're trying to do - to build this thing as far and as wide as we can.
"It can be really daunting when you feel like you can't do anything about a problem, but the simplicity of our message is that you can. It's just taking those initial steps."
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