When we picture oceans and beaches, we typically think of this.
Increasingly, studieshave been published showcasing how horrific the problem of plastics collecting in our oceans is. Microplastics (plastic materials that have been broken up a million times over to tiny particles, smaller than 1mm and invisible to the naked eye) are now found in fish and marine life, and have made their way into our food chain.
A founding principle of Poethiquehas been to embrace sustainability in every part of the business. It has been, and continues to be personally important to me, that my presence here on Earth, and the presence of any endeavor I create, should have a positive impact. "Am I leaving the Earth a better place for my having been here?" is a guiding principle for my life. With that in mind, Poethique donates 1% of all sales to organizations that are working to protect our planet's vast biodiversity, through One Percent For the Planet (1PFTP).
Recently, as a 1PFTP partner, I was invited to view the work of The Rozalia Project. All I knew before attending was that The Rozalia Project was dedicated to reducing ocean pollution. Enough to get me intrigued. The event was held on board American Promise (more on her further down) on a stunning blue New England sky day at the pier off Charlestown.
What I learnt from the event:
- The Rozalia Project is dedicated to clean, protected and healthy oceans. The organization uses a three-pronged approach to combating ocean pollution. First, they conduct research on the kinds of debris found in the marine ecosystem to help identify sources of pollution and develop methodologies to reduce the amount of waste getting into the ocean. Second, they conduct actual clean-up missions, up and down the Gulf of Maine. Third, they host educational tours on their vessel, American Promise, giving interns and students a chance to experience the issues firsthand.
- American Promise gives The Rozalia Project the ability to operate along coastal and urban waterways addressing the problem of marine debris. The Rozalia Project is only one of a handful of organizations worldwide that even have a ship. Consequently, they often host researchers from other organizations, and interns that do not have their own vessel. These guests join them on missions and work side by side with scientists to further ocean health through action and research.
- American Promise is packed full of ocean-protecting technology, that assists in grabbing samples from the ocean floor, capturing video and scanning/imaging surroundings for signs of deteriorating ocean health.
- In terms of living, American Promise has 9 berths, plenty of storage, a lovely shower, and space for working as well as relaxing. I met most of the current crew as well as the skipper Ashley Sullivan. The passion and dedication of the crew, their driving desire to be a force for positive environmental change filled my heart. Most of the crew are quite young and are inheriting damaged ecosystems that will impact their lives in ways we cannot fully predict. Yet, they're out there fighting for their planet and making a real change every day.
All in all, I came away inspired and hopeful. Watching the videos of the trash clogging our marine ecosystems made real the threat of plastic pollution in a way reading articles could not. And meeting the crew of American Promise made real the hope I feel for the future of our planet and of our species, in a way, donating could not.
Which is not to say one should not donate! Seeing the impact that The Rozalia Project is making renews the passion for embracing sustainable solutions in all aspects of my business, and helps me see it is the right thing to do for the long term health and future of our world. Here's how you can help:
- Take Action: Learn more about how micro plastics make their way from ordinary homes into the oceans and take concrete actions to reduce your household's contribution to this issues.
- Get On Board: If you have time and the desire, volunteer with The Rozalia Project and experience firsthand the problem and what solutions can help.
- Donate: The Rozalia Project accepts financial contributions as well as gear. Get in touch with them to learn more.