Ideas for Sea Change: Upstream & Downstream Solutions for Marine Plastics
Plastic pollution has become one of the most visible and detrimental anthropogenic impacts on the oceans. Join 5 Gyres and Adventure Scientists as we explore innovative solutions for measuring, understanding, and developing alternatives to turn the tide on this global ocean problem.
Downstream solutions focus on remedying the negative effects of plastic pollution, primarily identifying and removing plastics from seawater. Meanwhile, upstream solutions focus on solving the problem at the source, developing new ways to get plastics out of the supply chain through biodegradable and environmentally friendly alternative materials.
Accounting for more than 80% of ocean pollution, plastics inundate marine ecosystems from the sediment of the deep seas to the surfaces of the most remote ocean gyres. 14 billion pounds of trash enter our rivers and streams each year (NOAA) making their way into the sea. While plastics may enter the marine system as large pieces of debris, over time, the harsh ocean conditions break down those pieces into microscopic fragments. Plastic has been discovered in the digestive tracts of thousands of marine and coastal organisms from pelagic and deep sea fish to charismatic megafauna. With over 8 million pieces of plastic entering the oceans daily, the need to find a solution to ocean plastic and debris is dire.
We were thrilled to discuss 5 Gyres' and Adventure Scientists' innovations for upstream and downstream solutions taking on this massive problem, and inspire developing solutions of our own within the Seaworthy Collective Sea Change Maker community!
About our panel:
Director of Science & Innovation, 5 Gyres
Marcus has led expeditions around the world to research plastic marine pollution, co-publishing the first global estimate and the discovery of plastic microbeads in the Great Lakes, which led to the federal Microbead-free Waters Act of 2015.
He and Anna Cummins began 5 Gyres with an 88-day journey from California to Hawaii on the Junk Raft, built from 15,000 plastic bottles. Earlier, Marcus had rafted the Mississippi River, writing about the river and his experience as a Marine in the 1991 Gulf War in the book, My River Home (Beacon 2008). His second book, Junk Raft: An ocean voyage and a rising tide of activism to fight plastic pollution (Beacon 2017) recalls the rise of the plastic pollution movement, growing steadily today.
He received his Ph.D from USC. Currently in development of the Leap Lab Institute (www.leaplab.org).
Project Creation Manager, Adventure Scientists
Lindsay left the Motor City for Big Sky Country to pursue her passion for conservation. She has worked across Montana conducting trail work, studying huckleberries, and collecting data on rivers and streams. She also worked and volunteered as an educator and crew leader in Idaho, New England, Texas, Alaska, Utah and Mexico. Nothing brings her more joy than helping people develop relationships with the outdoors and become advocates for nature.
She earned her M.S. degree in Environmental Studies, with a certificate in Natural Resource Conflict Resolution, from University of Montana. In 2016, she was recognized as a Wyss Conservation Scholar for her work on community engagement in watershed health. In 2018, she became the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Science and Democracy Fellow for Montana. In 2020 she was selected as an Emerging Leader and participated in SHIFT's Emerging Leaders Program.
Lindsay loves wandering through the woods following tracks, learning about edible plants, and playing in and on rivers. She’ll never pass up an opportunity to go backpacking – she loves seeing how far her feet can take her with all life’s essentials on her back.
Founder & CEO, Seaworthy Collective
Daniel Kleinman is Seaworthy Collective's Founder and CEO, and a marine roboticist. Daniel received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida, focusing on ocean technology while following a passion for exploring and understanding the oceans. As an undergraduate, Daniel interned with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and became a University Innovation Fellow. After graduating in 2015, Daniel spent two years as a Pilot and Test Engineer for Bluefin Robotics' unmanned underwater vehicles in Boston. Daniel spent the following three years in San Diego as a Navy Contractor contributing to mechanical engineering research and development for maritime systems. Daniel recently started his Master's in Exploration Science at The University of Miami RSMAS and was recognized as a Miami Global Shaper. Daniel launched Seaworthy Collective in the fall of 2020, channeling his passion, network, and industry knowledge to empower a community of current and aspiring ocean innovators and entrepreneurs.
About 5 Gyres
The 5 Gyres Institute is a leader in the global movement against plastic pollution with more than 10 years of expertise in scientific research and engagement on plastic pollution issues. Since 2009, the team has completed 19 expeditions, bringing more than 300 citizen scientists, corporate executives, brands, and celebrities to the gyres, lakes, and rivers to conduct firsthand research on plastic pollution. Through this research, 5 Gyres continuously engages diverse stakeholders in understanding the science to drive impact as well as conduct community outreach and citizen science to implement data-driven solutions. With over 1,800 Ambassadors in 66 countries, 5 Gyres supports and is supported by community members with information, tools, and connections to help drive local change to fight this global crisis. Support science to solutions.
About Adventure Scientists
Adventure Scientists® is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Bozeman, MT that equips partners with data collected from the outdoors that are crucial to addressing environmental and human health challenges. By leveraging the skills of the outdoor adventure community we are able to gather difficult-to-obtain data at any scale, in any environment.
Since our founding in 2011, Adventure Scientists has sent thousands of volunteers on missions to collect data from remote, difficult-to-access locations for our conservation partners. As a result, fungus from Everest has helped double crop yields in India, scat samples are aiding the battle against antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” illegal loggers are easier to catch, and more conservation decisions are guided by the data they require. Our work has been featured in hundreds of media outlets, and our volunteer adventurers are making a difference around the world.
Adventure Scientists collected the largest dataset on Earth concerning microplastics, which is informing policy, research, and education at more than 200 governments, NGOs, educational and businesses institutions around the world. From 2013-2017, Adventure Scientists mobilized thousands of trained volunteers to help identify the extent of microplastic pollution in marine and freshwater systems around the world. Results have revealed microplastics in the vast majority of marine samples we've collected, from places including Maine, Alaska, Argentina, Thailand, and Antarctica.
About Seaworthy Collective
Seaworthy Collective was created in 2020 in Miami, Florida, to empower a community of current & aspiring ocean entrepreneurs, known as Sea Change Makers, to innovate for regenerative ocean impact. Seaworthy co-creates & crowdsources startups to develop collective ocean innovation pipelines at scale, partnering with local incubators & accelerators to tailor their programs to serve them. Seaworthy builds these pipelines through its venture studio & pitch competition programs, democratizing & diversifying opportunities for interdisciplinary ocean innovation & entrepreneurship. Seaworthy leverages a global network of mentors & strategic collaborators, as well as South Florida’s ecosystem of maritime business & research, catalyzing systemic change by empowering entrepreneurs to overcome industry siloes & drive the development of a regenerative blue economy that solves, & not just mitigates, the ocean’s greatest problems.
Seaworthy kicked off 2021 by opening its Opportunities for Sea Change for current and aspiring entrepreneurs looking to co-create regenerative ocean startups through our venture studio, while giving other ocean startups the opportunity to enter our pitch competition and be considered for our incubator and accelerator programs later in the year. The venture studio facilitates the creation of startups from the ground up, building the initial team of co-founders, providing strategic direction, and attracting capital for the startup to reach product-market fit. The pitch competition offers a platform for existing ocean startups across the Opportunities for Sea Change target areas to get into the pipeline for our partner ocean impact-focused incubator and accelerator programs, alongside the co-created startups from the venture studio.