Free the Ocean Interviews
I was so excited to interview Ziggy Alberts, an Australian singer and songwriter from the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. At only 26 years old, Ziggy has co-founded his own record label, Commonfolk Records, and released 5 studio albums, with Laps Around the Sun being his best known, released in 2018.
A big surfer and environmentalist, Ziggy does a wonderful job of bringing environmental issues, including plastic pollution, to light. If you haven’t heard his music, definitely give it a listen. After, of course, you read his latest interview with Free the Ocean!
1. You bring environmental issues to light in such a beautiful way in your songs – it’s a powerful method to create awareness of issues such as plastic pollution. One of my favorite lyrics is from the song Laps Around the Sun – ‘Do you see the ways that we’ve let plastic cover the ocean like snow?’. Can you give us some insight into these lyrics and what inspires you to write them into your songs?
I think songs are one of the most effective ways to share a message with love. I am always inspired to write about my concerns – environmentally or otherwise. It is my way to raise awareness to subjects and hopefully, my way of contributing to improving the issues at hand.
2. You’re known as an environmental enthusiast. Why is sustainability important to you?
I will answer this with a question:
Why shouldn’t sustainability be important to everyone when we all rely on it for our future?
3. Tell us how you make sustainability a focus in your shows. On the nights you’re performing, is it ever difficult to make the venues more plastic-free? How does your audience respond?
Every effort, small or large, counts and makes an impact. There is so much we can do to be more sustainable when it comes to live events and touring – but it’s just a matter of doing your best with the resources you have. On one of my recent tours in Australia, my team and I worked hard to be as sustainable and green as feasibly possible.
Here’s a quick wrap up of what we achieved on the 2019 Headline Australia tour –
1. We asked venues to use compostable plant-based drink and serviceware – across the bar and food vendors
2. All venues had a waste management service/system in place to ensure waste from the show was correctly disposed of, recycled or composted
3. All venues allowed us to host environmental stalls at each show. This encouraged patrons to chat with local environmental organisations and learn about initiatives that affected their local community.
4. All catering for production and performance crew was plastic-free
5. Where possible, Water Re-Fill stations were available to allow patrons to refill their reusable water bottles during the show
At one of the shows in Brisbane, we were actually able to achieve a 100% single-use plastic-free show. This was an incredible achievement. The venue grounds were clean after the show because we had fans picking up leftover rubbish. It was amazing!
4. What was the inspiration behind creating your ‘Responsible Merchandise’ line? Have you enjoyed the process?
I wanted to be proud of how my merchandise was made. For the first couple of years, my merchandise didn’t even have my name on it; I wanted the merchandise to be something people could wear day-to-day. It’s been a fantastic process, and we continue to try and improve upon what we’ve done to date. I think it’s also great to encourage each other as artists to be the change on these fronts.
5. You grew up in Queensland, Australia. How noticeable is the plastic issue in Australia?
I grew up in Queensland, then moved to the Northern Rivers in NSW. Honestly, it is definitely worse in other places. We have a really clean country relatively – but – we are also a small population with a huge amount of space. I would say in the years since I was little, the microplastic issue is evident on the tide line. We didn’t have those colours on the high tide mark growing up.
6. When you’re not touring, how do you like to spend your time? I know you’re a big surfer…
At the moment, I’ve been spending a lot of time around home. There has been a lot of surfing going on to be honest (haha!). I have also been growing veggies, doing a fair bit of yoga, ice baths, meditating and recording music.
7. When you are on tour, how do you stay grounded (in yourself and in nature)?
Meditation, yoga and finding little pockets of nature in a city. These three things are really important for me to feel grounded.
8. We’re facing a global climate crisis, which can feel overwhelming. Any tips on staying hopeful, positive, and motivated?
It’s a cliche, but I’m trying to walk forward on the path of love, and when it feels impossible, I remind myself: the odds we faced to be born as who we are, the odds we face to be here today, it is our human birthright to be against the odds – and to succeed regardless.
“When it feels impossible, I remind myself: the odds we faced to be born as who we are, the odds we face to be here today, it is our human birthright to be against the odds – and to succeed regardless.”
9. Do you believe small actions create big impact? Can you share an experience where you found this to be true?
It’s not environmental, but I was driving recently along the road at 60km/h, and a traffic director was laughing. I saw and smiled as a result. That’s how much we impact each other as humans. So our small actions really can ripple out in very positive ways.
10. Anything else you’d like to add?
I would just like to wish everybody good health and encourage people to get out into nature wherever possible!