Local marine biologist partners with campaign to educate island communities on the harmful lifecycle of single-use plastics
LAHAINA – Love the Sea’s “Eat Less Plastic” campaign is comprised of a passionate team of ocean enthusiasts dedicated to changing the future in a positive, sustainable way.
The team is currently on a four-month long journey through the South Pacific with a final destination of New Zealand. The group of citizen scientists will be working with Algalita and 5Gyers to collect microplastic samples in areas of the ocean that have never been tested before.
Their ocean voyage includes nine island stops – Marquesas, Tuamotus, Tahiti, French Society Islands, Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand – that will be documented through real-time video.
The team also plans to collect surface water samples, and by the end of their trip, they will gather all data recorded and submit it to the Global Estimate of Marine Plastic Pollution database for synthesis.
Magen Schifiliti, a local Maui marine biologist and conservation director for Trilogy Excursions, will join the voyage in Tonga and set sail for Fiji.
“I’m excited to be a part of the ELP voyage and create a natural synergy with what we are doing here locally on Maui through Trilogy’s Blue’Aina campaign,” said Schifiliti.
“I have been a personal ocean advocate since I was 11 years old, when I decided I wanted to become a marine biologist. Since then, I’ve had the privilege to study the ocean and have seen proof of plastics disrupting our fragile ecosystems, as well as its damaging effects on our marine life. Our world has developed a dependence on single-use plastics, and it has become apparent that we need to make a change.”
Schifiliti serves as the conservation director for Trilogy and its Blue’Aina campaign. Since 2010, Blue’Aina has been connecting local non-profits with corporate sponsors through monthly underwater reef cleanups.
Each Maui-based cleanup is open to the community and transforms a Trilogy catamaran into a floating classroom with different educational focuses narrated by the recipient nonprofit.
Similar to this educational approach to sustainable living, Eat Less Plastic will also be partnering with local schools across Hawaii, Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji and many other islands.
At each of the nine island stops, the ELP team will teach students about the lifecycle of a piece of plastic and the impacts of our global dependency on single-use plastics through real-time data and samples they’ve collected. It is their hope to inspire the youth of our world to make actionable, sustainable changes to their current way of life.
Trilogy Excursions has committed to sponsor $4,000, which will help Schifiliti be an integral part of this amazing citizen science mission that is important for the entire global population.
If you would like to help her reach her $6,000 goal, go to www.gofundme.com/eatlessplastic and select “Magen Schifiliti” under the “referred by” dropdown.