Are you reading all these articles on the amount of plastic pollution in the oceans, despairing in the harm that it’s causing to marine life, feeling helpless and thinking that the problem is too large to handle?
Don’t despair. Mobilize!
Here are five well-established organizations, and one newcomer, that have made it their mission to tackle ocean plastics. Pick your cause, find your angle, and get going!
In 2008, Anna Cummins and Marcus Eriksen sailed 2,000 miles from California to Hawaii on a raft made out of 15,000 plastic water bottles and an abandoned airplane fuselage. In 2009, they founded the 5 Gyres Institute to investigate unanswered questions about plastic pollution.
Eight years later, and institute is empowering action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution through its programs in science, art, education and adventure.
For his graduation project at the Design Academy in 2013, Dave Hakkens developed a plan to keep plastic out of the ocean. The Dutch engineer and designer has created machines that recycle plastic and shares the blueprints online, open-source and free of charge. The machines are made from basic components and materials, making them affordable and easier to build.
Precious Plastic enables anyone to start a local plastic workshop to turn plastic waste into new things, from custom knifes, to water filters to lamp shades. The sky’s the limit!
Parley for the Oceans is an online platform where creators, thinkers and leaders come together to collaborate on projects that raise awareness about protecting the oceans. A gathering is held every two years (past gatherings have been held in New York, Paris and Berlin), bringing together a carefully-selected audience to present a cause and get support for an initiative.
The Parley team helps get the process going by developing an individual idea or concept, connecting with potential partners, and moderating the collaboration process from idea to final agreement. Featured collaborations include large-scale art installations in New York, an expedition to the Maldives with Adidas employees, and football performance products made of Parley Ocean Plastic for Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Founded by Captain Charles Moore, who discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 1997, Algalita is a research and education organization that has committed itself to solving the marine plastic pollution crisis. Algalita spearheaded the research methodology for collecting and analyzing marine micro-plastic samples, and organizes regular expeditions to study the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and other locations. Alagalita also offers educational programs on plastic pollution through science-based workshops, as well as resources that are available free-of-charge to educators.
The Plastic Oceans Foundation facilitates efforts to raise awareness of marine plastic pollution, and promote plastic waste upcycling. The organization’s flagship program supports grassroots screenings of the film A Plastic Ocean, which documents how plastics enter the marine food chain, why they’re dangerous, and what solutions already exist. The foundation has also worked with scientists to develop a three-pillar approach that turns the messages of the film into action through education, science and business. Host a screening of the film in your community today.
Sailor Thomas van Thiel fulfilled a lifelong dream in 2014 by sailing across the Atlantic. But seeing a plastic bottle floating on the surface of vast ocean opened his eyes to the enormous problem of marine plastic. In 2016 he founded By the Ocean We Unite, which organizes sailing and research expeditions, open to the general public, to raise awareness, build knowledge, and actively clean up coastal areas littered with plastic.