“In 2008, Marcus and I met on a sailing expedition to research pollution in the North Pacific Gyre, a massive vortex fueled by oceanic currents that sweep our plastic from land and out of sight, shredding and concentrating it in the middle of the ocean. As we sailed from Hawaii to Los Angeles, we collected samples of broken down plastics tragically mixed with marine life. But at night, we saw something even more alarming. Small fish that surfaced nocturnally to feed were mistaking contaminated plastic waste for food, and as these fish were consumed by larger predators the toxins were working their way up the food chain—and on to our plates.
We vowed to dedicate our lives to solving the problem, and to each other. After Marcus fashioned a ring from discarded fishing line that he pulled from the ocean, we got engaged on top of a floating garbage patch.
Marcus and I launched 5 Gyres in 2009 with the simple goal of putting plastic pollution on the international agenda. Beginning in 2010, we completed a series of scientific firsts by researching plastic in all five subtropical gyres, as well as the Great Lakes and Antarctica. In 2014, we convened eight scientists around the world to publish the first global estimate of plastic pollution in our oceans: 5.25 trillion particles weighing in at 270,000 tons of “plastic smog” worldwide. Our paper on plastic microbead pollution in the Great Lakes inspired a two-year collaborative campaign that culminated in a national ban on microbeads that’s currently being considered by Congress.” –Anna
Board of Directors
Anna Cummins, Co-Founder/5 Gyres
Belinda Waymouth, Senior Writer/UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
Colette Brooks, Chief Imagination Officer/Big Imagination Group
Elan Glasser, Independent Filmmaker and Consultant/Rosenthal Winery
Jesse Nicely, Director of Creative Strategy/Cashmere Agency
Marcus Eriksen, Co-Founder and Director of Research/5 Gyres
Roger Kube, Mortgage Consultant/Guild Mortgage Company