Next month, on June 8, we celebrate World Ocean Day, and in the June issue of Latitude 38, Tim Henry takes a close look at sailors, and organizations, who have combined their passion for sailing with their desire to improve the health of the oceans. Here are a few snippets from next month’s story …
The State of the Ocean
“I am sometimes daunted by the size of the problem and how global the issue is,” Mary Crowley, the founder and executive director of the Ocean Voyages Institute, told us.
“When we first started investigating what was going on in the ocean, a lot of people would say cleanup is futile; it’s too far away, it’s too difficult,” Crowley told us. “But the fact is, professional maritime people are used to doing things mid-ocean.”
There have been a slew of other actions and ideas. Estuary sailor Scott Chowning started pulling a home-made trawler behind his Catalina 27 Evening Star to collect debris while he’s out sailing. Santa Cruz captain Jim ‘Homer’ Holm helped invent a small “mobile reactor,” which can turn ocean plastic into diesel fuel. The Swiss organization The Sea Cleaners recently unveiled Manta, set to be launched in 2024.
Boyan Slat, the shaggy-haired, unshaven 27-year-old founder and CEO of Ocean Cleanup, said that in 2020, his company had collected 250,000 football fields, or over half a million pounds, of marine trash. Stylish fundraisers who appeal to our greatest environmental hopes, The Ocean Cleanup has the lofty goal of removing “90% of floating ocean plastic pollution.”
Even though we have legitimately changed our behaviors, and we can see a cleaner environment around us, the statistics are still ominous. “The United States is by far the world’s largest generator of plastic waste — it produced about 46 million tons in 2016,” National Geographic reported.
It’s clear, however, that marine pollution is a crisis that has corralled the world’s attention.