Scuba diving with sharks, colorful corals and learning about artisanal fishing traditions and ocean conservation strategies was once part of my life as a marine biologist.
“It was amazing living in tropical destinations like Barbados, Panama, Philippines, Brazil and lastly California where I lived out my dream of being a marine biologist. Despite the low pay grade, I was in love with the daily duties and requirements of this job – especially those sunset surf sessions”.
It wasn’t until one day I came across a unique looking expedition opportunity from a social media post. I found it quite adventurous and “out there” even for a Canadian-born city girl turned surf and beach bum. It was called eXXpedition and the goal was for all-female sailors to make the unseen seen – “ from the toxics in our bodies to the toxics in our seas”. Interesting and exciting I thought.
A few weeks after applying for one of the upcoming sailing voyages – I got an email. It was an invitation letter. Feelings of initial excitement and surprise took over, and then I saw the cost of the trip – 8,000 British pounds. There would be a way to make it happen.
A few months later after weeks of crowdfunding, auctions with eco-friendly donated items from companies like Klean Kanteen, Bee’s Wrap, and Chico Bag, and a few documentary screenings – I raised the required $US 10,000 to sail from Brazil to Guyana for 21 days.
The experience changed my life. I returned to the US and realized that even her ocean-conservation research job had an excessive dependence on single-use plastics.
Once you see the damage and presence of plastic pollution – in places where there is no sight of humans for days and days, and miles and miles – you can never again unsee it. I had to do something. This is where I dreamed up the solution of an outdoor water refill station – which is today called O’land Station.
Plastic pollution is no longer a mystery to our society. It is found in every corner of the world, in the ocean, lakes, air, and even in our bodies. We have to significantly reduce the need for single-use plastic items to get a handle this waste issue, the overflowing landfills, and the broken recycling promises.
Of all plastic ever produced since the 50’s, only 9% of it has been recycled. Alternative solutions are required urgently to help us transition towards better practices and behaviors – kicking our bad habit of consuming single-use products. I also now works alongside an amazing non-profit based in Los Angeles, California called The 5 Gyres Institute – one of the pioneers who has been researching and advocating for the past 10 years to end the global crisis of plastic pollution.
So that’s my story and why I’ve founded O’land Station.
I hope it helps explain how I chose to collaborate with Cupko at events. Imagine it, a water station coupled with reusable cups and bottles at your dispense – eliminating a huge bulk of disposable items. Awesome!
Stay tuned for a great summer season,