Founder of Love the Sea, Ocean Aid and member of the Eat Less Plastic mission, Hawaiian-based Kiwi Campbell Farrell is sailing to New Zealand collecting important data on the way, and raising awareness of ocean plastic pollution.
Interview by Cathy McKeown
Plastic is one of the deadliest threats to the sea and its marine life, what is the Eat Less Plastic voyage going to achieve?
The primary purpose for the Eat Less Plastic voyage is to connect with communities in the Pacific region and help raise awareness about the issues of plastic pollution… especially in the ocean and surrounding coastal areas. While voyaging, the Eat Less Plastic captain and crew will be capturing ocean samples with a “Mantra Trawl” that has been provided by Algalita Foundation and 5 Gyres. The samples of plastic collected from the ocean surface will add to a Global data base of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. The data is recorded in protocol with the 5 Gyres Trawl Share program designed for people who are willing to help collect samples while crossing unchartered ocean waters.
While stopping at island nations Eat Less Plastic is visiting local non-profits and schools, sharing their findings and other information that helps raise awareness for the cause. The entire journey is being filmed and documented for social media and video presentations to be presented along the way and at the next Ocean Aid Hawaii music festival early 2019.
Why are you personally involved with the mission sailing across the Pacific?
The Eat Less Plastic voyage is raising awareness about plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. I’m Co-Creator of the Ocean Aid Music Festival that was held April 30, 2017 on Oahu in Hawaii. Ocean Aid is a festival campaign of Love The Sea, dedicated to raise awareness about the negative effects of plastic on the ocean environment. Love The Sea’s mission statement is Fixin’ it Local Takin’ Global and the Eat Less Plastic voyage perfectly embodies that statement.
How do you think New Zealand can make a difference to reducing plastic pollution?
New Zealand is a very progressive enterprising country. I see New Zealand as a leader in the Pacific banning plastic bags nationwide and reducing other types of plastic from entering the market place… especially single use plastics. I also see New Zealand quickly creating a circular economy where manufacturing from recycled plastic waste is seen as a crisis opportunity. I also feel that most people in New Zealand really care about their country. They know it is beautiful and wish to keep it that way. New Zealand is shaping up to be the first nation to set a standard for the Pacific Rim like Germany has done in Europe.
What do you do to reduce plastic in your everyday life?
I personally strive every day to ‘reduce, recycle, reuse or refuse’ plastic. Also my food and beverage business the Kuau Store on Maui has qualified has an ocean friendly restaurant by serving food in compostable containers, using paper straws and biodegradable cutlery.
What’s one memorable moment from the Eat Less Plastic voyage to date?
There have been many but one of the most memorable was after we had just done a speech and presentation to a primary school in the Cook Islands. The head master was so moved by what we had shared about plastic plaguing beaches and killing wildlife that he got up and stated the school would be operating free of single use plastics by the end of the year. Now that’s inspiring to think all children who go to that school will be taught such habits. That’s what the world needs, commitment and action!
You clearly love the sea, what does the ocean mean to you and how does it make you feel?
In the water I have enjoyed some of my most memorable experiences in life. I’m driven to protect the ocean from the damage caused by plastic contaminants. I’m dedicated to Love The Sea, Ocean Aid and this Eat Less Plastic voyage. I feel blessed having such a great opportunity to work with people of similar mind, who like me… “Love The Sea, Plastic Free”.
From a young age I can remember playing on the beach and snorkelling with my father in Tahiti. The ocean is beautiful and healing, it takes me away to that special place where I often get lost in that dreamy moment… where nothing else matters.
The ocean has challenged me also to a point that I absolutely respect all it has to offer. If there is one thing I have learned it is to never turn my back on the ocean. I pay attention and listen I see the trouble she is in… I feel the need to lend a hand and hope that others will too. Remember three of every four breaths are provided by oxygen from the ocean. So let’s all make an effort to Love The Sea… plastic free!
The Eat Less Plastic crew is expected to arrive in New Zealand in early October. You can follow the crew’s progress at eatlessplastic.com