Tim Silverwood’s journey to the middle of the North Pacific Ocean on a 72-foot sailboat to research plastic pollution started around four years ago when he traveled to India and saw huge levels of trash entering waterways and the ocean.
He was confronted by the realisation that his big blue backyard was under attack from levels of plastic pollution he’d never thought imaginable, so he started organising informal beach clean ups in his local area in Australia.
Together with Amanda Marechal and Roberta Dixon-Valk, he helped establish ‘Take 3 – A Clean Beach Initiative, a non-profit organization encouraging everyone to simply take three pieces of rubbish with them when they visit a beach, waterway or coastal area.
Then Silverwood read an article from the San Diego Union Tribune titled ‘$10K buys a trip to see floating trash’ mocking the announcement of a call for participation in a research expedition to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
“Still looking for that perfect Valentine’s gift? How about a 20-day tour on the high seas to search for the world’s largest garbage dump?” it asked in the opening line.
He didn’t have $10K but he did want to sail to see that trash. Within a week he’d confirmed his spot on the July 2011 voyage and decided this wouldn’t just be a holiday, this would be the start of a new chapter.
To fund the $10,ooo journey, Silverwood hosted many Bag It screenings throughout Australia, to thousands of people of all ages. He’s expanding his mission from creating awareness to enacting change, starting a statewide petition throughout New South Wales to have parliament table a ban on ultra thin plastic bags, another in Victoria, and encouraging ongoing alliances for a bottle bill reform nationwide.
See Silverwood in the film One Beach. Here he says powerfully, as a surfer from a young age, “The ocean is not to be conquered. The ocean is there to be respected.”
Follow Silverwood on his website here.
BAG IT EDUCATIONAL ADVOCATE PROGRAM:
Since May 2010, more than 600 community organizations, schools, libraries, and educational programs have integrated Bag It into their programming and curricula, bringing the film to what we estimate is now tens of thousands of people nationwide.
At the same time, we get daily emails from schools and libraries with limited funds to purchase Bag It for their collections and classrooms. Inspired by this expression of need, we have designed a new Bag It Education Advocate Program: an attempt to match the needs of budget-stressed schools and libraries with the enthusiasm and resources of long-term Bag It supporters.
Here is how it works: for a tax-deductible donation of $750, Bag It Education Advocates receive 10 licensed Bag It Educational DVDs to donate to area schools and libraries of their choice, and 10 hard-copy curriculum packets to accompany the film. These licenses are non-transferable after being donated to each individual school or organization.
This program can exist in this very basic form, or can certainly be taken to higher and higher levels. In my perfect world, advocates become truly involved and become part of our “on-the-ground Bag It Army”, for which we have plenty of great ideas and would be happy to share with you soon.
For anyone interested in more information about the BAG IT Educational Advocate Program, the first step is to click here and register.