Jon Dee

Jon Dee is best known as the Founder of Planet Ark – an organisation he started in association with close friend and former Wimbledon tennis champion Pat Cash back in June 1991. He was 27 at the time.

Jon set up Planet Ark in Australia because its small population base and accessible business networks gave it the potential to become an environmental change agent - setting environmental role models that could be adapted by other countries around the world.

Planet Ark was created as a pro-business organisation, as Jon believes that only business has enough power to save the planet’s ability to look after our future generations.

As such, Planet Ark was created to show people and businesses the many ways that they can reduce their day to day impact on the environment. In his role as a campaigner, Jon has built up an international reputation for initiating innovative projects that get measurable results.

In partnership with Olivia Newton-John. Jon founded Planet Ark’s ‘National Tree Day’ and this year’s Tree Day saw 300,000 Australians plant over one million trees at more than 3,000 sites around Australia.

Jon was on the Sydney 2000 Bid Environmental Committee, which wrote the acclaimed Sydney 2000 Environmental Guidelines. To help promote these guidelines and the bid, Jon recruited Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise to appear in a pro-Sydney 2000 Planet Ark video - a video which he also wrote, produced, directed and edited.

After a phone call from an old lady who complained about a lack of Christmas card recycling facilities, Jon started the ‘Cards 4 Planet Ark’ Christmas card recycling campaign. So far, this has recycled 500 million greeting cards through Planet Ark recycling facilities in 1,800 Coles and Australia Post outlets.

Jon also initiated the ‘RecyclingNearYou’ service - an online searchable database that shows people what they can and cannot recycle in 672 council areas Australia-wide.

Jon also started Planet Ark’s ‘National Recycling Week’, which is backed by hundreds of councils around the country each year. This event has grown to play a key role in reducing public confusion about what can and cannot be recycled.

Planet Ark’s most successful project to date has been its push to reduce Australia’s usage of plastic check-out bags. This campaign was initiated by Jon and in a very short space of time it generated a huge firestorm of publicity, gathering huge public support to reduce the 7 billion plastic check-out bags that were being used every year.

Since Jon started this Planet Ark campaign, Australia’s use of plastic bags has declined by over 4 billion bags and more than 20 million green bags have been sold Australia-wide

Every year, Jon undertakes hundreds of radio and TV interviews about the environment. In addition to regular appearances on the major current affairs TV shows, Jon is also the on-air ‘Environmental Advisor’ for Neil Mitchell on his top rating Melbourne talkback show on 3AW. For the past four years, Jon has also written a regular eco-motoring column for ‘The Road Ahead’ magazine.

At the age of 41, Jon finally learnt to drive so that he could get about in the electric/petrol hybrid Prius car. Thus ended his career as the world’s only non-driving motoring journalist!

Jon’s main inspiration growing up was his Grandfather Sam, who encouraged him to do what he felt was right. The community work undertaken by Jon’s parents also motivated him to undertake similar activities.

Jon lives in the Blue Mountains and commutes to Sydney every day by train. He is married to Leanne, his partner of 15 years and they have a daughter called Estelle – a wonderful 3 year old child whose birth was the happiest moment of his life.

After 15 years as the day to day driver and Managing Director of Planet Ark, Jon became the Chairman of the organisation in December 2006. This move has allowed Jon to launch ‘Issues Communications’ in association with PR veteran Ric Lazar.

Jon continues in his high-profile spokesperson role with Planet Ark but is also launching a number of environment projects outside of Planet Ark, the most notable of which was his ‘Ban The Bulb’ campaign. Initiated by Jon and run in partnership with Philips, Jon’s lobbying with this campaign has led to a national phase-out being announced on the sale of incandescent light globes. This will save Australian households about $1.3 billion a year and will reduce greenhouse emissions by over 12 million tonnes per annum.

Since January, Jon has been fronting the Australian DVD launch of Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. He will also be appearing on Channel TEN’s ‘Cool Aid – The National Carbon Test’ TV special which airs on March 4th.

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