Emily (centre) and Sally (right) courtesy of eXXpedition and Sophie Bolesworth
This autumn, environmentalists and ocean advocates Emily Penn and Sally Earthrowl will tour the UK as part of the Society’s Regional Theatres Programme. We caught up with Emily and Sally to find out what we can expect from each of their talks and learn more about plastic pollution.
Emily: There’s no silver bullet to solving plastic pollution. There are hundreds of solutions - you just need to pick your place to start! We built SHiFT.how [SHiFT: Find your role in tackling ocean plastic pollution] to help people and organisations navigate hundreds of ways to tackle plastic pollution and find the ones that are best for them.
It is billions of microactions that have led us to this situation and it is billions of microactions that will get us out. We don’t need everyone to do everything, but we need everyone to do something.
Sally: Every action can make a difference, however big or small. The way our world is set up doesn’t make it easy for us to eliminate plastic from our lives, it is after all an amazing material that is cheap and durable! But we all have a responsibility to take action to live in a world we want to. Everyone can start by changing just one thing at a time.
Emily Penn at Falmouth Harbour - Credit @timwalker_westbound
Emily: What it is like can change by the day, by the hour, by the minute - it really depends on where you are in the world, what time of year, and even what the weather is like! Imagine an amazing team of multinational women, powering through waves (and sea-sickness!), conducting offshore research, dolphins at the bow, tears, laughter, breathtaking sunsets and the sobering reality of the magnitude of the pollution crisis our ocean faces.
Each eXXpedition voyage is an experience, a platform and learning opportunity for our amazing multidisciplinary crew. While on board, alongside the scientific research, each member of the crew shares their own experiences, participates in workshops to find where they fit in creating solutions and explores collaboration opportunities with other members of the team. After completing their voyage, each guest crew joins our already thriving network of eXXpedition ambassadors, taking the message of ocean plastic and achievable actions back to their own communities.
Sally: I love the sense of adventure and freedom that being out on the open ocean provides. The rotation of ‘watches’ to assist with sailing the vessel and the daily scientific data collection enables all of us to focus. It is very immersive and removing the distractions of life means that creativity blossoms. Everyone has the space and time to recognise where their skillset or ‘superpower’ intercepts the issue and how they can use this to positively influence change.
Sally Earthrowl, courtesy of eXXpedition & Sophie Boleworth
Emily: One of the things that I love about being at sea is how you constantly have to react to the changes in the environment around you. If the wind picks up, or the waves change direction, you have to adjust your sails and shift your course – sometimes your life depends on your response. I’ve adopted this philosophy into how I live my life on land where I’m constantly responding to the latest science and innovations to identify the best opportunities to keep making a difference.
Sally: I feel hugely privileged to have had the experience as Mission Leader with eXXpedition. I have learnt so much from collecting the scientific data and working with the women on board and communities around the world that I feel a responsibility to utilise my own educational expertise to encourage others to take action. I am an advocate for experiential learning, and am lucky enough to work in education to support others to recognise their own superpowers and utilise these to act on whatever environmental issue is of concern to them.
This autumn’s tour, titled Navigating our way towards a plastic-free ocean, is on sale now.
29 September - Turner Sims, University of Southampton. Book now
19 October - Stamford Arts Centre. Book now
24 October - Exeter Phoenix. Book now
21 November - St George's Guildhall, King’s Lynn. Book now
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