Aloha Community Members and Ocean Stewards,
Living on an island, we are all aware of how our actions and respect for the land and sea are inseparably intertwined to the health and vitality of our ecosystem, and our lives. Many of us have been directly involved in debris clean-ups from mauka to makai, yet after the earthquake in Japan just over a year ago and the tsunami that followed, we are keenly aware of how we are but a microcosm here on planet ocean. It is clear we need to deal with some larger issues as a whole. Very recently, we were made aware of a group called Algalita Marine Research Institute (www.algalita.org), who in partnership with the Five Gyres Institute has been directly dealing with the plastic trash gyres that collect in our oceans and are permeating the ecosystem. This group measures the scope of the ocean debris problems, raises awareness, searches for solutions and ultimately elicits change in our habits as consumers.
Recently, Bill Francis, the president of Algalita’s Board of Directors came to Maui to give a talk on the marine debris issue and contacted the mayor’s office to ask for recommendations on a few individuals here on Maui who have already been involved in this issue and active in our community. Algalita Marine Research Institute and the Five Gyres Institute are conducting two research expeditions, chartering the scientific research vessel Sea Dragon. The first leg of the Western Pacific Expedition leaves from the Marshall Islands May 1st , and will sail through the Western Pacific Gyre, and end up in Japan three weeks later. After a one week stay and symposium on Marine debris in Tokyo, the vessel will take on new crew and sail the path of the tsunami debris to arrive on Maui approximately the first week in July.
After the expedition ends, some vital grassroots movements will need to begin. One represenatative from Maui will help lead the charge.
My resources, experience, and local knowledge will help gain attention towards the incoming debris. Using our experience as a catalyst I want to raise awareness by helping to create three task forces of local, state, and National affiliates for Maui.
- Helping create a task force focused on creating funding resources through county, statewide, and national affiliates, utilizing Algalita as an advisor.
- Another gaining grassroots, statewide, and national media attention for Maui County.
- The third would focus on gathering together local resources and organizations that already work with Marine and land debris to create a Maui County plan of action with the 1st task force.
Algalita has invited one representative from Maui to come aboard the first leg of the expedition and to assist with an welcoming event once the ship reaches the Hawaiian Islands. Each crewmember’s spot costs $ 9500, plus crewmembers are responsible for their own transportation and lodging to and from the boat. In order to make this happen, I need the support of our community. Below is an introduction to your Maui Candidate. I will outline various ways you as an individual, or a company or group, can assist in creating awareness for this cause.
As a marine biologist and director of Trilogy’s Blue’aina Campaign, I witnessed the devastating effects on wildlife and have dealt with the issue of ocean debris for the last two decades. This involved cleaning up beaches and reefs, cleaning up oiled sea birds and assisting with turtle and whale stranding networks. Because of the work that I do as an educator, scientist, documentarian, event planner, sailor and fund raiser, I have been given this rare opportunity to represent Maui and crew this historic expedition. I will be collecting photos and shooting video for articles and a future documentary, and after the symposium in Japan, have an opportunity to present our findings in Seoul, South Korea – one of the world’s largest plastic producers.
In addition to documenting the size and extent of the plastic gyre, we will be looking for tsunami debris to see if it also is spreading northward from the projected path. Upon returning to Maui, I will organize a large community event with beach clean-up, plus 2 reef clean-ups by boat on July 1st. In addition to Trilogy Excursions, we are seeking other corporate sponsors to host this event.
The research vessel Sea Dragon is a 72-foot long racing sloop that will have scientific researchers and environmentalist on board with three professional crew. After the symposium, it departs from Japan with a new crew and will travel the path of the tsunami debris and is expected to make landfall here on Maui in late June/early July. To welcome them, I am planning a big Blue’aina event, where we will host representatives from the Algalita Research Foundation in a press conference, invite the Mayor Alan Arakawa and a few keynote speakers, and address with our community the issue of the tsunami debris that is headed our way. In conjunction with this we will have a public beach clean-up where Trilogy will host 2 boats that will take people out to clean up the reefs and serve a great lunch, donated by a local restaurant. 100% of the funds raised from ticket sales from this event will go directly to the Algalita Marine Debris Research Institute.
I am seeking sponsorship and support from the community in several ways for this expedition. The first is for a major corporate sponsor(s) that would come in immediately at the $ 3,000 - $ 10,000 level. That donation would go directly to the Algalita/5 Gyres Expedition. As we have not been given much lead-time, the sponsor would need to be able to respond to this offer quickly. We would make the pillar-level sponsor(s), along with Trilogy, the major hosts of the Blue’aina clean-up, and would receive top billing in all media exposure. We can also discuss providing event participants with cloth grocery/beach bags (exemplifying a move away from plastics) that Trilogy would supply with both our logos, as well as a special commemorative t-shirt.
A secondary way to contribute greatly to help offset travel expenses and support the expedition goal is to donate gift certificates, goods and services that can be used to raise money in silent auctions and benefit cocktail party hosted by Mala Wailea on April 21st. Big-ticket items like surf/paddle boards, and gift certificates would be very helpful for attaining this goal. It will also be a great chance for media to attend this ‘send off’ event, and we will certainly acknowledge our generous sponsors.
Please feel free to contact me directly at
Director, Trilogy’s Blue’aina Campaign
Team on This Campaign: