Bon Voyage, Allison!
Our gal Allison is off to the high seas! Yes, it’s true: The Story of Stuff Project’s own Community Engagement Director, Allison Cook, is currently en route from Bermuda to Iceland to get an up-close look at ocean plastics. For this trip, SOSP is partnering with 5 Gyres to bring attention and research to the urgent issue of ocean plastics.
Plastics Swirling in the Ocean, Like a Giant Bathtub
Plastics are a core issue for the Story of Stuff Community: and we are tackling them head on. Our friends at 5 Gyres are working hard on stopping plastic pollution in our oceans – and they’re actively researching where all that plastic comes from. Their organization is named after the five oceanic gyres. Large systems of oceanic currents, coupled with wind and the earth’s rotation, create “gyres” – massive, slow rotating whirlpools in which plastic trash can accumulate.
One form of plastic pollution that has really got our attention is the practice of embedding totally unnecessary plastic beads in beauty products all over the planet. Microbeads and microplastics are ingested by fish, mussels and birds, eventually working their way higher and higher up the food chain. And anyway – who wants to scrub their face with plastic?
The Boat and its Crew
Allison (that’s her, relaxing in Bermuda at the top left) will be sailing with a small and curious crew, aboard the 80-foot sailboat, The Sea Dragon. As part of the boat’s crew, she will gain real first-hand experience of how UV rays break down ocean plastics into microplastics.
Staff Members Speak Up About Allison
“I’m so excited that Allison has this opportunity to get out of the office and out from behind her computer to see what’s happening to our oceans because of our take-make-waste culture,” said Renée. “I hope she has an amazing adventure learning and connecting with other shipmates – and I also hope she remembers to use the seatbelt in her bunk bed at night.” Josh spoke up too: I’m just excited to see the kind of inspiration Allison takes away from this all. We all know plastic is an issue, but seeing an ecosystem as vast as the ocean just inundated with plastics has got to strike a special kind of chord in any activist’s heart. I’m excited to see what comes out of that experience.”
Naomi summed up what we all were thinking: “For Allison, this trip is the experience of a lifetime and a terrific opportunity to learn experientially. I am excited to see how it transforms her and strengthens her skills, passion and resolve in ways unforeseen.”
Annie added this final thought: “There’s a saying that ‘once you know, you owe.’ This refers to the incredible sense of commitment and responsibility one feels when they see a wrong-doing with their own eyes. Allison is having the opportunity to see the harm that our plastic-saturated economy is causing as far as the middle of the ocean. I just know she is going to come home and put this experience to work, fighting for real solutions even harder than before.”
Bon voyage, Allison!