Help my environmental impact business get moving by reading below and considering sharing or giving to my campaign. Thank you!
As I write this, I feel very discouraged and angry. I realize the only way to get anywhere in life and business is to be truly honest and vulnerable. So here, it is...I need your help. If you know me, you know I hate asking for help, but in order to complete my goals I can't just do it on my own.
After living on Crooked Island in the Bahamas in 2013, I saw firsthand the devastating plastic pollution issue our oceans are facing. Before I left the United States for this journey, I was aware how remote my location would be. I was open to the idea of only drinking rainwater, no TV, no radio, no cell phones, limited food supply, but I never expected to see the trash in this remote beautiful location.
The windward (windward is the direction from which the wind is coming) side of the ocean was nicknamed by the native as "Garage Sale Beach." The native would drive to the beach and pick up reusable washed up items like buoys or buckets. Although this seems creative, it was so sad to see firsthand. I never know pollution was such an issues in our oceans outside of oil spills that cover the media, nor did I realize how bad floating plastic pollution was. All I know is I had to do something.
A year after I moved back from the Bahamas I started working at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary run by NOAA. I am by training a graphic designer and was able to take on a role working on the communications team at the Sanctuary. It was at the TBNMS, surrounded by amazing educators, interns and exhibits that taught me about the effects on plastic pollution and the reality of climate change. It was there that I met two strong and brilliant women, Stephanie Gandulla and Meaghan Gass.
Stephanie and Meaghan had started an organization called Plastics FLOAT. In addition, within that first year of me started working at NOAA, these women they took on the no plastic challenge. They would not using plastic for 1-year. Through their challenge, I learned about the issues of single use plastics in our day-to-day lives. Every time we went to go out to eat, there was an issue. Whether it was from leftover containers to even little plastic cups for dressing, but the one piece of single use plastic that Meaghan had this funny hatred for were plastic straws! She just hated them and they sucked!
Now mind you this was before the big movement of banning straws hit. This was just an educator dealing with the overwhelming access to use of plastic straws in her everyday life. This was the inspiration of my first environmental design. What started our as a tank top gift has turned into a vigorous campaign, #PlasticStrawsSuck.
I figured it out. I was not a politician. I was not an elected official. However, I was a graphic designer, and I cared deeply about our ocean, especially the impacts from plastics on marine life.
So in 2016, Clean Ocean Clothing was established when I, with the help of Meaghan Gass, sought to bring awareness to the plastic pollution epidemic our ocean and Great Lakes are facing. I'm self taught myself to screen print and I design all the apparel designs. My friend Matt McIntosh, the graphic design for National Marine Sanctuaries, has donated several illustration as well to the collection. Over the two years, COC has been wore during Science and Climate Change Marches in Washington D.C. to the beaches of Florida.
My passion for the ocean has not wavered over the years, but the struggle is still real and there is only me. In order for this mission to MAKE WAVES, I need more help. Please proudly wear Clean Ocean Clothing. I rely on people like you to help spread the word. The more we can get our message across, the more we can do our small part to raise awareness and address this crisis.
10% of all Clean Ocean Clothing sales goes to education and clean-up of plastics. From our first day in business, we has donated 5% of all sales to the Plastic Pollution Coalition.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story!
- Jacque Edwards