We have chosen not to participate in traditional ‘Black Friday’ discounting that encourages over consumption and increases the strain on our planet.
Instead, 20% of all sales made online from Monday 20th to Monday 27th November will be donated to ocean clean-up efforts and conservation to help protect the future of our seas.
The Ocean Cleanup.
At just 16 years of age, Boyan Slat saw more plastic bags than fish when scuba diving in Greece. He thought: “Why can’t we just clean this up?” This question led him to research the plastic pollution problem for a school project back in his hometown of Delft, the Netherlands. He learned about plastic accumulating in five large oceanic gyres, the largest one being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Armed with only €300 of saved-up pocket money, Boyan dropped out of his Aerospace Engineering degree at Delft University of Technology and started detailing his plan, but initially struggled to make progress. However, this all changed a few months later when Boyan’s TEDx talk about how to rid the world’s oceans of plastic using technology went viral, and the momentum that followed allowed him to drop out of school and found The Ocean Cleanup.
Images: The Ocean Cleanup
In the following years, Boyan led the organisation through the initial scientific work, testing and concept iterations leading to successfully achieving Proof of Technology in 2021 for both river interception and cleanup of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Today, The Ocean Cleanup is actively cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and has deployed Interceptors in some of the world’s most polluting rivers to prevent plastic reaching the ocean in the first place. To see our progress, visit the Impact Dashboard.
“When people say something is impossible, the sheer absoluteness of that statement should be a motivation to investigate further.”- Boyan Slat
The mission, vision and values that Project Seagrass prides itself on evolved independently in the minds of its 3 founders. While pursuing masters degrees at Swansea University, Benjamin Jones and Richard Lilley each developed a passion for seagrass meadows with their supervisor Richard Unsworth. Both Ben and RJ quickly realised that these ecosystems were under threat and wanted to do something about it.
In May 2013, Ben created Project Seagrass as a platform to help deliver seagrass science to the public, using social media to help disseminate information. At the same time, RJ, and their supervisor at the time, Dr. Richard Unsworth were looking to strengthen seagrass science in Wales and started conceptualising the Welsh Seagrass Network.
After realising that they were all on a similar page, in July 2013 Ben, RJ and Richard drafted a formal constitution to make Project Seagrass an official association, an association committed to conserving seagrass meadows across the globe. Later, in 2015, now CEO Dr. Leanne Cullen-Unsworth joined the trio and co-founded Project Seagrass as a registered charity.
Images left to right: Dimitris Poursanidis / Ocean Image Bank, Liam McGuire / Ocean Image Bank, Michiel Vos / Ocean Image Bank
Project Seagrass is devoted to the conservation of seagrass ecosystems through turning cutting-edge research into effective conservation action and education schemes, by collaborating with local communities and other stakeholders. As a dedicated team of seagrass scientists, they work to protect seagrass, and through seagrass, they support marine conservation more broadly community on the presence and importance of global seagrass ecosystems, the services they provide and current seagrass management issues.
Globally, over a billion people live within 50km of a seagrass meadow, yet only a small fraction of these people even know that seagrass exists and evidence suggests that this trend holds true for the UK too.
Seagrasses are flowering plants and form productive and biologically rich habitats, but across the globe these species are under threat. In the UK, these habitats provide support for commercially and economically important fish species including juvenile Bass, Plaice, Pollock, Whiting and Cod. Further evidence of the major role was collected as part of Richard Lilley’s research that investigated the nursery role that seagrass plays in specifically supporting juvenile Atlantic Cod. Seagrass meadows in the UK also provide important food for wildfowl, such as brent geese, and nutrients to support animal communities on the seabed. The research conducted by Benjamin Jones for his MRes thesis has shown that these habitats, specifically in the UK, are close to environmental thresholds and contains very little resilience to environmental change.
Every hour, an area of seagrass the size of two football pitches is lost around the World. This rate of loss is equal (if not greater) to that occurring in tropical rainforests and on coral reefs yet it receives a fraction of the attention. Seagrasses face a host of problems locally and globally but because of their 'uncharismatic' nature, they are often forgotten or marginalised in conservation agendas.
'People don't necessarily understand its importance - it doesn't have the charismatic appeal. For example, in the tropical oceans it doesn't compare in colour to coral reef. But it actually has a huge impact on the productivity and biodiversity of the coral reef and marine ecosystem,' - Dr Richard Unsworth.
As we lose our seagrass, we lose the numerous benefits that seagrass meadows provide to people and planet. Help to protect it now.
Donate 20% of your rum purchase from Monday 20th to Monday 27th November by clicking the link below.