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Ian Bruce Kiernan was born near the shores of Sydney Harbour, Australia, in 1940 and grew up learning to swim, fish and sail on his favourite waterway. Though he went on to become educated in the construction industry, specifically historic restoration, his first love was boating. He has sailed competitively for most of his life, and it was this sport which lead to his activism. In 1986 Kiernan was selected to compete in the BOC solo yachting challenge, where competitors raced around the world. During his voyage Kiernan saw how polluted the Earth's oceans had become, and became determined to set the problem right.
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Kiernan's dismay at seeing our oceans as a landfill lead him to recruit his fellow Australians to clean up Sydney Harbor in 1989. Over 40,000 Australians showed up to help remove rubbish and litter, and the next year more than 300,000 volunteers participated across Australia. This has grown to over 800,000 participants in the 2008 Clean Up Australia Days which now include separate schools and business days.
The effort has grown to a global challenge, with millions volunteering each year to clean up trash in their local communities through the Clean Up the World project. The ultimate goal is to stop the wanton pollution and trash dumping that so negatively impacts our global environment. Recently Kiernan has also become concerned with the worsening climate crisis, and has turned his attention to that problem as well.
Ian Kiernan's Organizations
Ian Kiernan is the chairman of two not for profit organizations, including Clean Up Australia and Clean Up the World. Clean up Australia was the organisation that evolved from Kiernan's initial Clean up Australia day in 1989. From there Kiernan partnered with the United Nations Environmental Program to head up the Clean Up the World project, which began in 1993. Today over 40 million people from 120 countries participate in the Clean Up the World effort, volunteering in their local communities.
Ian Kiernan's Awards
For his efforts in the environmental cause Kiernan has been recognized by multiple organizations around the world. His most prestigious award was the United Nations Environmental Program's Sasakawa Environment Award in 1998, which also came with a monetary prize. Other recognitions include the Order of the Australian Medal and the Australian of the Year Award (1994). Kiernan was also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Trust of Australia in 2006, and has been voted fourth most trusted man in Australia.
Kiernan's background simply goes to show that anyone, from any background or trade, can become an advocate of the environment. Make sure to check out the Clean Up the World effort, and get ready to volunteer some time to help secure a brighter and cleaner future by demolishing pollution.