The 5 Gyres Institute is on a mission to empower action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution. Right now, 5 Gyres and its global network of supporters are using a multi-pronged approach to keep plastic bottles, plastic straws, plastic fashion, plastic bags, microbeads and styrofoam out of the ocean.

Here is a list of programs in science, art, education and more, that ocean lovers, sea farers, citizen scientists and explorers can get involved in.


5 Gyres Ambassadors Program

To take the 5 Gyres’ impact to the next level, the non-profit organization has set up an Ambassadors program designed to educate and support its growing network of dedicated volunteers.  5 Gyres currently has more than 365 Ambassadors from 34 American states and 48 countries in the 5 Gyres 12program—ages eight to nearly 80!  Ambassadors are key volunteers who are provided with a solid background on plastic pollution research, policy, and solutions. They are given the training and tools to help them become leaders and take action against plastic pollution within their local communities.   Since 2008, 5 Gyres has a proven track record of positive impact on the ocean.

A 5 Gyres Ambassador gets access to:

  • Free downloads of informational presentations that you can use to share our mission with your community.
  • A directory of resources that can help tailor messaging to presentation opportunities.
  • Monthly virtual meetings—Office Hours or Webinars—with 5 Gyres staff, and a direct connection for a quick response to any questions.
  • Early updates on 5 Gyres programs, events and activities.
  • Deep satisfaction for being a part of the solution to stop plastic pollution and change the world!
    Check out the Ambassadors Map with updates from Ambassadors from 48 countries.


A 5 Gyres Ambassador’s Mission is to:

    • Lead and/or attend at least two events as a 5 Gyres Ambassador each year.
    • Positively promote 5 Gyres in a professional way.
    • Remain plastic free by using reusable bottles, cups, utensils and bags while representing 5 Gyres, and ideally in your daily life as well.
    • While representing 5 Gyres, only participate in events that are plastic free; if this is not possible, publicly address the reasons why the event is not and consider speaking with organizers about how they can reduce their plastic footprint.
    • Document activities on social media using the #5GyresAmbassador hashtag and tagging photos with @5Gyres, and/or email steph[at] with photos and details from the event so she can share on your behalf.
      Apply here for the Ambassadors Program.



The History of 5 Gyres

In 2008,  Anna Cummins and Marcus Eriksen were on a sailing expedition to research pollution in the North Pacific Gyre. As they sailed from Hawaii to Los Angeles they discovered something more alarming then the huge quantities of plastic breaking down on the ocean surface: At night small fish that surfaced nocturnally to feed were mistaking contaminated plastic waste for food, and as these fish were consumed by larger predators the toxins were working their way up the food chain—and on to our plates. The couple vowed to dedicate their lives to solving the problem, and the following year launched The 5 Gyres Institute and a journey to bring world attention to our plastic ocean.


5 Gyres Track Record

Beginning in 2010, the nonprofit 5 Gyres Institute began a series of scientific firsts by researching plastic in all five subtropical gyres, as well as the Great Lakes and Antarctica. In 2014, the organization published the first global estimate of marine plastic pollution: 5.25 trillion particles weighing in at 270,000 tons of “plastic smog” worldwide. 5 Gyres’ paper on plastic microbead pollution in the Great Lakes inspired a two year collaborative campaign that culminated in a federal ban, signed by President Obama in 2015.  It’s next project is a scientific expedition (#18) to research micro and nano-plastic pollution in the Arctic. More information is at
By Laurie Wilson, Blue Ocean Network


See these additional, related Blue Ocean Posts on Plastic Pollution:

Thousands of Miles Away Is Not Far Enough To Escape Plastic Pollution
Our Plastic Ocean
Does Your Coffee Cup Take 30 Years to Break Down?
UN Environment Declares War on Ocean Plastic
The Ocean Bottle brings attention to our Daily Plastic Waste
Microfiber Pollution from THE STORY OF STUFF
An Action Agenda to Clean-Up Our Ocean
Polluting Plastics Ban, Good News from Davos
Take the No Plastic Straw Please Pledge


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