Did you know that 8 million tonnes of plastic waste find their way into the ocean each year?
That we use over one million plastic bags every minute worldwide?
Or that toxic chemicals in the ocean, such as pesticides, tyre plastic, flame retardants and industrial waste are finding their way to the ocean, affecting marine life and getting in to the food chain?
How can this be happening? It's not what was planned 112 years ago when plastic was created.
Plastic is an extraordinary material - flexible, colourful, abundant and indestructible. It has had an impact on every human industry and transformed the way we live. It has helped us explore our planet through deep ocean trenches to helping us reach the highest summits and mountain ranges and then beyond in to space. We have plastic in our clothing, our tea bags, food packets, electronics, bottles, phones, paints and building materials. We wear it, watch it, sleep on it.
The very properties that make plastic so useful also make it problematic when it escapes in to the environment.
The sea is often the final destination of plastic waste as it is carried by winds, streams, rivers and currents in to oceanic whirlpools of pollution. Studies have revealed that 90% of seabirds have plastic in their digestive system and there's been well documented press coverage of whales washed ashore with stomachs full of plastic.
Jacques Cousteau said 'Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.'
It's for these reasons that many of my clients have been in touch with me about asking what they can do to help with the plastic challenges facing us all.
I have connected them to great organisations that are making a difference including Boyan Slat's team at The Ocean Cleanup . I've successfully helped clients and given many speeches on 'How We can All Contribute To Something Meaningful & Get Out Of Our Comfort Zones' to make a difference in our world. So, I didn't hesitate when I was given an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and join the Round The World Voyage with eXXpedition on a leg of the journey aboard their incredible boat SV Travel Edge. The whole team will look in to the causes and solutions to ocean plastic pollution.
I'll be one of 300 women taking part in this 2 year voyage covering a total of 38,000 nautical miles. The voyage has been broken down in to 30 legs and I'm on leg 12 sailing 600 miles from Fiji to Vanuatu in May this year!
The crew will be getting involved in cutting-edge citizen science taking samples of micro plastics from all levels of the ocean water column including the surface and the ocean bed. These samples will then be sent to specialist scientific laboratories to help us understand exactly what is getting in our oceans and how we can solve the problems on land.
Why am I getting involved?
1. Since visiting Costa Rica 3 years ago and seeing the giant sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs fighting their way passed sharks and other predators it dawned on me that plastic was just as much a challenge to them and all marine life. I saw the reactions of the young people as they heard the information shared with them from the Sea Turtle Sanctuary about the difficulties that all marine life and animals face in our oceans and felt a huge need to get informed and play my part. My love for nature and the environment has since taken me to Norway, across America by train from the Rocky Mountain National Park to San Francisco, Croatia and Europe and all this has fuelled my desire to take care of what we have.
2. I'm a mother of 2 teenagers & wants to support the generations of today & generations of tomorrow to make our world a better place.
3. I work with many organisations that are B Corps & also Social Responsibility focused companies so plastic pollution is regularly discussed.
4. My 1:1 clients want to get out of their comfort zone & contribute to making a positive social impact so I'm leading from the front and showing that what seems impossible can be possible.
5. A big part of the mission is about using this platform to showcase women in STEM, exploration and sailing. As a career advisor and expert I'm aware that despite significant progress, women are still underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) sectors. Globally, women occupy only 13% of the STEM workforce (including health professionals) and I want to inspire change in this area.
I've been selected out of the 10,000 women that applied for my communication skills, desire to make a difference and resilience. I'm passionate about doing all I can to help us understand how we can all play a part in easing plastic pollution in our oceans and on land. I'll be returning from my trip and will deliver many high profile speeches, presentations to organisations and talks in schools with the aim of raising awareness of how we can all reduce our plastic footprint
The time for action is now and it's up to each of us not to kick the plastic bottle down the street.
We can all reduce our plastic footprint.
We can make informed consumer choices to avoid unnecessary single-use plastics. Simple changes, new habits, thoughtful actions can all contribute to a better future. Let's get plastic smart.
Follow my journey with eXXpedition on Instagram @katie.fightsplasticpollution and go to www.exxpedition.com to track the boat and read the news.
If you want to play a part and get involved then go to www.bit.ly/GetInvolved-SupportKatie to find out how you can:-
* receive a 'shout out video message' from me on board the boat,
* sponsor a talk in a school,
* get involved with the corporate sponsorship opportunities .
If you're on Instagram and want to some ideas follow the #2minutesolution .
Turning the tide on plastic can start today.
#plastic #plasticfree #exxpedition #plasticfreeworld #2minutesolution #makeadifference