Stemming the Tide: Achieving a Plastic-Free Ocean
Plastic is one of the most versatile inventions of our time, but when discarded, uncollected, or mismanaged, plastic rapidly becomes a crisis of immense proportions for our ocean, which is choking on an avalanche of plastic debris. Over the past two years, Ocean Conservancy has taken very concrete steps towards a solution. They have clearly identified the communities where ocean plastic pollution inputs are largest, examined why the plastic is making its way to the ocean, and begun to map out a strategy by which global policy and science-based solutions can be used to move the needle further.
Together with 11th Hour Racing, the Ocean Conservancy sees tremendous potential to partner with the sailing community and marine industries to raise awareness to the issue of marine debris and galvanize influential members of the sailing community to channel their passion for the ocean into action. The grant focused on the following:
- Expand the membership of the Trash Free Seas Alliance, a global organization that unites corporate, industry, NGOs and academic partners to eliminate marine debris, with a focus on recruiting sailing industry leaders and corporations that sponsor sailing events.
- Partner with 11th Hour Racing’s sponsorship partners 55 South on Volvo Ocean Race Campaign & other Ambassadors to provide content and expertise on marine debris, and develop targeted media coverage.
- Target International Coastal Cleanups (the world’s largest volunteer effort addressing marine debris) to feature elite sailors (e.g. 55 South) and engage individuals to take action.
- Develop multi-media communication tools and strategy to engage the sailing community and industry leaders around the issue of marine debris and opportunities to take action.
Combined, the ICC and Alliance offer a unique opportunity to engage the sailing community in the work of ocean conservation, especially since plastic pollution is such a visible problem to individuals who spend their time on the open sea. Furthermore, building a partnership between OC and 55 South to provide content, communication tools, and a targeted media campaign will bolster both the work of OC but also provide meaningful messaging for the 2017 Volvo Ocean Race (one of the world’s largest and most covered sailing races).