Anti-plastic Warriors set to Kayak almost 2,000km
War On Waste: Cairns anti-plastic warriors set to kayak almost 2,000km from Alaska to Canada
Posted on 19.06.2017
Two anti-plastic warriors from Cairns are set to kayak almost 2,000km from Alaska to Canada next year to bring awareness to the devastating impacts of waste on the environment.
Lucy Graham and Mathilde Gordon met four years ago through a sustainability club at James Cook University.
It spurred them to start volunteering with the Australian group, Tangaroa Blue Foundation, spending days cleaning up beaches in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast and on the Cape York Peninsula in far north Queensland.
“It really blew me away how much rubbish there was on the beach,” Ms Gordon said.
“We were picking up usual things like toothbrushes, lighters, food wraps and bottles — everything that I use in my everyday life.
“I was kind of getting angry at it.”
The two friends now both adhere to single-use plastic free lives, meaning they don’t use items like disposable strawss at cafes, shopping bags or takeaway food containers.
Up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste is washed into the ocean each year, according to research published in the journal Science.
Australians generate a staggering 13,888 tonnes of plastic litter every year — and about a quarter of that ends up in the ocean.
‘We can create change’
Faced with the data, the two friends decided to turn a shared passion for kayaking into a meaningful trip.
They are set to depart in May 2018 and will paddle the Inside Passage from Juneau in Alaska to Vancouver Island in Canada.
This will take them about three months, and they hope to do it in kayaks made from recycled plastic.
They are also hoping to go the entire trip without using single-use plastics, such as bottled water and food wrappers.
“A massive challenge will be to keep food dry and keeping it out of the water so that it stays safe,” Ms Gordon said.
The duo will use their trip to fundraise money for the Tangaroa Blue Foundation and Canadian marine debris clearing program, Living Oceans.
Ms Graham said that, apart from fundraising, she hoped their journey would start a conversation and make people challenge their everyday habits.
“A huge motivation for us is: we push ourselves this far, how far do you push yourself?” she said.
“We can create change and make the world a better place.”
Ms Gordon added that using plastic is just “ingrained in people’s lives” but it does not have to be this way.
“It is a large worldwide problem and an interconnected problem but it is something that can be changed very easily form a local level, starting with everyone’s actions at the supermarkets,” she said.
The two friends will end their kayaking trip with another beach cleanup on Vancouver Island.
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