Key oceanic plastic researcher Dr. Marcus Eriksen from Algalita Marine Research Foundation (algalita.org) has invited me to sail to the Atlantic Gyre to document Algalita's research mission as well take part in the research itself. Dr. Eriksen has been tirelessly researching the catastrophic effects of plastic pollution in our world's oceans. He's investigated The North Pacific Gyre, sailed a raft made of Junk to Hawaii to spread awareness (junkraft.com), and has recently completed a bike ride called Junkride from Vancouver B.C. to Tijuana, stopping in major West Coast cities to spread awareness of the plastic problem in our oceans. From a research standpoint, we only have significant data on The North Pacific Gyre (read about it here- http://wendmag.com/304/gyre). Little is known about the Atlantic Gyre. While onboard, I will be taking video, thousands of photographs, and conducting interviews with researchers and scientists as an ambassador of The Surfrider Foundation. I'm the chair of the Portland, Oregon Surfrider Chapter and have been working on plastics issues here, as well as advising Surfrider's national Rise Above Plastics (riseaboveplastics.org) campaign.
Both during and after the voyage, I'll be publishing articles on our findings on the Huffington Post, as well as my own magazine's site (Wendmag.com), and on the Surfrider Blog. All media assets that I develop will be available for any group interested in looking at the issue critically. At home, I'll be creating media deliverables for Surfrider to help spread the message: Curriculum for teachers, short viral video assets, stock images for outreach materials, national press on the issue, and continued coverage of the voyage as it continues. Also, as part of my payment for the voyage I will be helping to fund plastic in sediment analysis, fish tissue sampling (toxins are assimilated into the food chain from plastic and ultimately end up on our dinner table), as well as marine debris density in the Atlantic gyre.
Why do I care so much?
I'm a surfer and an environmentalist. I see plastic floating in the ocean every time I surf. Within the past year, media coverage of The North Pacific Gyre has become prolific, but what the greater public doesn't know yet is that four other gyres exist in our world's oceans. This debris collects because of the way in which ocean currents swirl. We need to study them all.
How much does it cost?
In total, the cost of my participation in the voyage is $5,000 and I need $1,000 to fly to the US Virgin Islands and then home from Bermuda. I'll also buy carbon offsets for my travel with the budget. Surfrider National has graciously anted up to pay $2,500 of the cost. So in total, I'm looking for $3,500.
- (32 days)