How inspiration is cleaning the ocean

Floating boom used to collect plastic

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was discovered in 1997. It is a collection of plastic and floating trash, trapped by the currents of the north Pacific, larger than Texas, and growing larger year by year. Nobody liked it. But nobody did anything about it.

Now a technology startup called The Ocean Cleanup has started removing plastic from the Patch. Giant floating scoops, each a mile long, gather the plastic together. Then, every six to eight weeks, boats go out to collect the debris. 

The idea is that within five years they will collect half the rubbish in the patch: around 40,000 tonnes.

What was the underlying driver that made this incredible project happen? Was it money? Was it fame?

Company founder Boyan Slat, who was still a teenager when he had the idea, says:

“The plastic pollution problem has always been portrayed as something insolvable. The story has always been ‘OK, we can’t clean it up – the best we can do is not make it worse’. To me that’s a very uninspiring message. What I really hope is that the ocean clean-up in this century can be a symbol for us using technology to make things better.”

He’s not doing it to make money. He’s not doing it to ‘save the planet’. He’s doing it to create a symbol — a symbol that will inspire others. And he’s inspired other people to help him make it happen.

When you find what inspires you, and use that to inspire other people, you can make incredible things happen — even cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

You can read the full story here. Then ask yourself, what inspires you? And how can you inspire people to want to make that happen?

Photo credit: The Ocean Cleanup

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