Here at Bodhi, we know that there are many foundations and companies that create “awakening experiences” for people. Encouraging others to become awakened into a new realm — one in which people care for their environment and the wellbeing of others — is a lofty but important goal. For the past two years, Bodhi has donated a our signature Bodhi Sessions adult surf + yoga camp for two to support Voices 4 Oceans. This is an annual storytelling event that supports the 5 Gyres Institute. This year’s event featured adventurers and athletes who all shared stories about their connection to the ocean. Captain Pete Bethune of Earth Race Conservation, Alison Teal who TIME magazine called the “female Indiana Jones”, and world record-breaking paddle-boarder Shilpika Gautam.
What is the 5 Gyres Institute?
Founded in 2009 by husband-and-wife team, Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins, the 5 Gyres Institute is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit on a mission to end the global health crisis of plastic pollution. At a Voices 4 Oceans event, 5 Gyres announced a new “north star” goal to stop the flow of plastic pollution from source to sea by 2028.
The organization was first started to study plastic pollution in all five main subtropical gyres, the circular current systems that trap trash in concentrated areas. 5 Gyres research determined that much of the trash in the gyres is plastic. It then breaks up into small pieces and acts like a sponge absorbing harmful chemicals from the surrounding water. These toxic microplastics are next to impossible to clean up as they’re easily dispersed, often mistaken for food by wildlife. They work their way up the food chain ultimately ending up on our plates.
In 2012 on an expedition in the Great Lakes, 5 Gyres team discovered plastic microbeads that were traced back to personal care products such as exfoliating face and body wash. This discovery inspired a national campaign, which lead to the passing of the Microbead-Free Waters Act, a federal ban that went into effect in 2018. Many other countries are following suit including Canada, France, Ireland, the Netherlands.
Small changes leading to big impact
This summer, 5 Gyres embarked on their 18th expedition, this time studying plastic pollution in the Coral Triangle — traveling between Bali and Komodo Island. In addition to collecting new data and generating incredible content, expeditions provide an unparalleled platform for engagement bringing people together from all walks of life to conduct science and discuss solutions.
Many past expedition crew have joined 5 Gyres global Ambassador network. There are currently over 500 5 Gyres Ambassadors in 38 US states and 55 countries, ranging in age from eight to nearly 80!
The power of unity
What can you do to solve the plastic pollution problem? Join the Nix the 6 action campaign and help eliminate polystyrene and expanded polystyrene foam (aka styrofoam). Globally, humans use billions of expanded polystyrene coffee cups each year. Yet there are many cost-effective alternatives that are less toxic to our environment and to us. In the same way that Bodhi connects people from all areas to create positive change in the world, we admire 5 Gyres for encouraging people from totally different backgrounds to come together over the planet’s future!
Written by Kerry Dunn