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CSL's Program Manager in Sydney Sara Rickards spoke to Sarah Whyte from TripleJ Hack about The F***giving Movement, which now has 1250 active members. The story also features CSL staff member Jen as a catalyst for the passion-powered movement.
‘The F**k giver movement’: How ocean plastics changed one man's life
Warning: this article includes uncensored swearing.
When Sara Rickards turned 30 she had one request to her party guests - do something that you give a fuck about.
Her mates didn’t take the demand lightly. Some spent a day picking up plastic from the ocean, other friends started giving away some possessions, while others donated warm clothes to a homeless shelter.
And that’s when Sara was suddenly inspired to start a new movement: the Fuckgivers.
“What I’ve leant from being in sustainability for a number of years is that some people roll their eyes when you say ‘sustainability’ so we started asking, ‘what do you give a fuck about’ and you know, most people do give a fuck about something,” she said.
The Fuckgiving movement has now attracted about 1250 active members who share how they’ve given a fuck in their online community and meetings. They also connect people who want to give a fuck.
So when Sara was talking to her old friend Jen, whose husband had just been diagnosed with cancer and was about to go through a painful leg amputation, she began mobilising the Fuckgiving movement.
Dan and his wife Jen
Jen, who lives in Wollongong and has a baby boy with her husband Dan, says in one conversation Sara had decided she needed to help them.
“She set her little engineer mind to work and just thought there must be something that we can do in how to get a really cool, functional leg.”
Because Dan’s amputation was not due to a workplace injury, he wasn’t covered by worker’s compensation and has to rely on a prosthetic leg provided by Medicare. Dan says it’s bulky, uncomfortable and doesn’t fit correctly.
“There’s a few issues that come up when you lose your leg,” he said. “I’m a below knee amputee so I do have use of my knees, but I don't have an ankle and when I go to sit on the floor it's really odd not to be able to slip your foot under.”
Only months before Sara had been introduced to Gerardo, a Mexican prosthetics engineer through other Fuckgiver members.
“I’m the stereotype of a Mexican,” Gerardo said. “I am in a mariachi band and I used to work as a chef in a Mexican restaurant.”
But Gerardo also has a few other talents. He has been working on prosthetic limbs for years in Mexico after he saw how many local children were amputees.
“I’m a mechatronics engineer, so I'm trying to apply for a skilled visa. I make robots basically.”
After Sara approached Gerardo about Dan’s leg, he got started on a leg prototype and for three months he has been working on a prosthetic leg that Dan will be able to use.
The twist? It’s made from plastic found in the ocean, created using a 3D printer, and is expected to be funded by a crowdsourcing movement.
“I want to use plastic from the ocean so [I will] shred the plastic we can use for filament, and I’m actually looking at using e-waste as well and they have different sensors and are already embedded in a big package and I can use it to make a more advanced prosthetic,” he said.
For Jen and Dan, they are incredulous that this movement will have such an impact on their lives.
“It’s just been incredible,” Jen said. “It’s hard to put into words when you feel so loved and cared for.”
For Dan, having a new prosthetic leg made from recycled plastic couldn’t be more appropriate.
“That's just the icing on the cake isn’t it, we both love the environment and Jen is into sustainability so it couldn't have been more perfect.”
This interview transcript was originally published by Sarah Whyte of ABC Triple J in July 2017. The original can be found here.