Help Turn the Tide on Plastics in Our Oceans

Help Turn the Tide on Plastics in Our Oceans

Help me and an all-female sailing crew turn the tide on plastic in our oceans and promote women in science, by sailing around UK this August

We did it!

On 22nd Aug 2017 we successfully raised £1,070 of £1,000 target with 22 supporters in 28 days

First all-female scientific sailing expedition in UK

...sampling for plastic pollution and running awareness-raising events around Britain.

Your support will be helping me to highlight the devastating impact of single-use plastic on our oceans and to build the momentum for change in the UK.

Events will take place in our ports of call: Plymouth, Cardiff, Belfast, Arran, Stornaway, Edinburgh, London, and back to Plymouth. I'll be crew for the last leg of the journey, starting in Edinburgh.

As the 72ft challenge yacht, Sea Dragon, circumnavigates Britain we’ll be: hosting conversations with the public, communities, charities, scientists, artists, businesses and policymakers; and furthering the agenda of women's leadership and involvement in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

The all-female crew includes scientists, students, artists, filmmakers, business women, psychologists, ocean activists and sustainability professionals, as well as experienced sailors.

Below, the trailer to 'eXXpedition: Making the Unseen Seen'

Sailing gives me a massive smile inside, and reminds me that we can make any dream a reality if we have the longing and a community, though it might not always be smooth sailing! So here I am. I want to encourage systemic action in repsonse to all the plastic in the ocean, to give something back to the land that has given me so much, and to be a role model for women from all backgrounds, ages and experiences. 

Why Women?

  • Women are still underrepresented in the STEM sectors, occupying only 21% of the UK’s STEM workforce (including health professionals). Read more...
  • There is increasing importance of research on the impacts of chemicals on women, who often have different exposure routes to men, as the incidences of non-communicable diseases, such as cancers, are increasing. Read more...
  • Women are also underrepresented in sailing. “Out of over 180 sailors at the Swan 45 World Championship last year, only 12 were women." “...the reason there are currently not more female professional sailors is more a factor of lack of opportunity than ability.” Read more...

Why Now?

We’ve all read the horror stories about birds, fish, and whales with stomachs full of plastic from the ocean. Even in the UK, despite our recycling efforts, you can’t walk the streets or sit in a park without being reminded that we have a plastic waste problem. The problem is getting worse. More people, more plastic.

It’s clear we can’t solve this large and complex problem alone, so let’s use this unique opportunity to shift the story of plastic in Britain together this August.

“If we’re going to protect our oceans we need to end the age of throwaway plastic.”

Why Plastic?

Every single day, in the UK alone:

  • We use 38.5 million plastic bottles! 16 million a day end up in landfill, burnt or in our oceans.
  • Your average household uses 1.3 plastic bottles a day, only about half get recycled.
  • We use 7 million coffee cups, but very few of them are recyclable.
  • An average of 3.5 million McDonalds customers buy a drink with a straw. That means 3.5 million straws a day are discarded.

Other facts:

  • 80% of ocean plastic comes from land-based sources.
  • On average, we use a single-use plastic product for only 11 minutes.
  • It takes a plastic bottle 450 years to decompose (that’s about 20 generations).
  • You could drive a car 11 metres on the oil it takes to make 1 plastic bag.
  • Plastics industry uses roughly 8% of oil production, forecast to rise to 20% by 2050.
  • Crustaceans in the Mariana trench have x50 more toxic chemicals than crabs in heavily polluted rivers in China.

Photos: Plastic washed up on a Dorset beach. Plastic and degradable debris collecting in a London canal.

What's the Way Forward?

Check out The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics report by the World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey & Co. for how we can systemically improve the way we produce, use, and discard plastics.

“Companies need to move away from single-use plastic, embrace reusable packaging, and make sure the rest is made from 100% recycled content.”

My Contribution

  • I’ve been volunteering with eXXpedition since the Spring, organising the London events.
  • To help me support the less experienced crew, I have over 2,800 nautical miles of sailing experience, a RYA Day Skipper certificate, I’m a half decent cook while sailing, and I’ll be bringing my ukulele!
  • I have an MSc in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability, I've written blogs for Science Art in America, spoken at London’s Leonardo Art and Science Evening Rendezvous, and facilitated at Subtle Technologies: Participatory Practices in Art & Science.
  • I hope to share my knowledge and experience in facilitating collaborations that respond to complex challenges using improvisation acitvities and participatory methods. And to encourage positive action around plastic pollution in playful and creative ways, involving personal plastic stories, exploring the lifecycle of the plastic we find, and maybe even start a kid's book inspired by the journey.

Your Donations

All of your generous donation, however big or small, will help me to cover the final third of my direct costs for leg 3 of this expedition. Every eXXpedition voyage, since 2014, has been organised voluntarily and unsubsidised. So we, as the participants, are personally funding the full cost of the trip - covering food, board, sailing vessel’s operating costs, basic sailing gear, and all the scientific resources.

I will also be covering my own travel to and from the boat, any additional sailing gear, and any resources I need for my creative/outreach projects during the voyage. eXXpedition is a Community Interest Company.

Stay Connected 

Photos: Plastic and shells washed up in Cape Verde.

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