“We went out and we took a look and we discovered these really high concentrations of plastic microbeads. We traced them back to personal care products. They’re used as exfoliates in face washes and body washes. The problem is the plastic in them is so small that they escape wastewater treatment.” ~ Stiv Wilson
Unlikely leaders come in all packages. Stiv Wilson lives on a boat, wears flip flops, and doesn’t heavily invest in fancy moisturizers. But when this mid-west native found microbeads in the Great Lakes, he said “This makes no sense!” Thus began an environmental crusade with the organization “The Story of Stuff” to get these toxin-filled dots out of our drains, watersheds, and the marine food chain. The dive industry is a small, dispersed group of mostly independent operators, but Stiv is here to unite and empower us!
“get your feet wet through global activism”
Supporting sustainable practices by choosing products and services that follow green guidelines is one way to help the environment, but it’s not enough. With the ocean experiencing growing stress from an increasing world population, what we really need is ‘get our feet wet’ and collaborate through ocean activism.
Stiv Wilson built a career in the sciences and eventually focused on studying the presence of plastic pollution in our water, which is how he ended up working at The Story of Stuff. Now his focus has shifted from plastic to pollution in general as he has seen the needs of our planet become more urgent. While The Story of Stuff advocates for a world that produces and consumes less, this, according to Stiv, is not the end of it: “Individual actions to reduce your consumption footprint or your waste footprint are great: It’s a great place to start and a terrible place to stop.”
Stiv claims his motto is “constant pressure, endlessly applied,”
As part of a burgeoning project with The Story of Stuff, Stiv is urging everyone, whether scuba divers or not, to stand up and put their ‘citizen muscles’ to work. Stiv claims his motto is “constant pressure, endlessly applied,” which has helped him see his projects through, especially those that seek to make changes at the legislative level. Politicians and people in public services want to hear from active members of the community and work alongside them to bring change. So become an ocean change-maker and talk to your politicians.
Change, however, is not instant, and Stiv knows it takes more than just some convincing to get the most well-intended socially conscious projects off the ground. This is why Stiv heavily encourages everyone who is even slightly invested in the cause to participate in The Story of Stuff’s ‘Citizen Muscle Boot Camp,’ a program specifically designed in consideration of those who feel inclined to lead but don’t know where to start. In Stiv’s own words, the bottom line is to “figure out what you love and then figure out what needs to be done to protect it. The rest, you can learn along the way.”
Stiv brings over a decade of experience in grassroots advocacy, systems innovation, and campaign strategy to The Story of Stuff Project. His role is to design, execute, and lead community campaigns to fruition as conservation victories. Being a waste and plastic pollution expert Stiv is frequently asked to speak on solutions to the vexing inefficiencies in our economies all over the world. He has led campaigns to ban plastic bags, plastic microbeads, and plastic water bottles at the state, national and international level. He’s sailed over 35,000 nautical miles to four of the five oceanic ‘garbage patches,’ documenting and communicating maritime plastic pollution firsthand.
Join in a crusade to curb plastic pollution and make sustainable choices
If you find Stiv’s crusades to address ocean issues and plastic pollution an inspiration, join us for his entire interview at the Blue Ocean Summit 2015: Stiv Wilson. You can also visit the Story of Stuff Project and find out about their ‘Citizen Muscle Boot Camp”.
Another of our speakers at the Blue Ocean Summit 2015 that is devoted to solving the Plastic Pollution problem is Dianna Cohen. She founded the Plastic Pollution Coalition and you can hear her entire interview at Ocean Profiles: Dianna Cohen
Also be sure to check out David Helvarg’s article “Leadership in the Blue Frontier” at Ocean Profiles: David Helvarg. David Helvarg is not your average scuba diver. Helvarg brings his experience as a war correspondent, broadcast documentary producer and author (Saved by the Sea, Blue Frontier, 50 Ways to Save the Ocean and more) to the creation of the ocean conservation group BlueFront.org, and the bi-annual Blue Vision Summit in Washington DC. As a licensed private investigator David gives us the real inside scoop on ocean policy leadership, and how to become a Seaweed Rebel.