A summary of 2019
Updated: Jan 11
We can't quite believe it but somehow we have officially finished the 2019 leg of our journey. The last three and a half months have been incredibly fruitful in more ways that we could have possibly imagined and we just wanted to take the time to share a couple of things with you.
We know that many of you have been closely following our antics and we would like to say a huge thank you for your support. Having a support network behind us cheering us on every step of the way makes our job an awful lot easier. For those who might have missed our updates or who haven't heard from us for a while, we hope that this wee summary will give you a good idea of where we're at with the project and how we've been spending our time over the last 100 days.
1) We successfully made it to all 7 destination countries!
That sounds as though we were ever in doubt. We weren't really, but did encounter some inevitable hiccups along the way. Thankfully (and largely thanks to the help of kind contacts along the way) we were still able to conduct our research as hoped in the following countries:
Ecuador (including Galapagos)
2) Job title: Jack of all Trades
Many of you will know that one of our primary aims on this trip was to produce mini documentary-style videos to showcase the work of individuals around the globe. With very little knowledge surrounding video editing, filming and recording, this has certainly been a challenge! In just a few months we have learnt so much about filmmaking and are beginning to understand the amount of breadth of work that goes into even the shortest of videos. From outreach and research to sifting through hours of footage and matching audio files to their corresponding media clips, we have certainly had our hands full on top of the other work required for the project to function. To top it all off, we have been doing all of this using a £50 second hand laptop! So we now know the true meaning of the word patience.
We are however pleased to announce that we have successfully produced 10 videos, all of which can be found on our YouTube Channel. It has been an incredibly rewarding process, especially when sharing the final product with those involved.
We are still very much novices, though, and very much appreciate any guidance or advice you may have so please don't be shy! Drop us a line and we will warmly accept any tips on how we can keep improving. Quite possibly our most ambitious video yet - a film about a filmmaker!3) The most obvious solutions are often not so great (surprise surprise) This might sound obvious but we've seen it first-hand time and time again, especially with large corporations. An example is Coca Cola - you can find information on their new 100% recycled plastic water bottle here.
Whilst this may sound like the perfect solution, these bottles are actually not the best alternative. Whilst visiting Africa's largest and most advanced recycler of PET bottles, it was explained to us that a 50:50 ratio of virgin to recycled plastic is actually the more sustainable option, as this material can then go on to be recycled 8 or 9 times, as opposed to a 100% recycled material that can only be processed another 1 or 2 times.
We are so grateful to have had our eyes opened to these kind of trade-offs and have been training ourselves to consider each problem holistically so as to be able to devise the best possible outcome for all parties involved. Often what looks good from the outside is proving to have a negative environmental effect and we must remain vigilant when tackling these issues.
4) Where now?
Due to the intensity of the last 100 days, we are taking a much-needed break to rest and recharge but will be continuing on our way in January 2020 to start the next decade off in the only way we see fit! If all goes to plan, we will be heading to another 7 countries to continue our search for solutions to plastic pollution, namely:
We are always looking for new collaborations and for in-country contacts who can guide and assist us once we arrive so please get in touch if you know of anybody in these places. Our itinerary is often flexible so we are open to all suggestions.
So far we have spent a good chunk of the trip being hosted by kind people who believe in what we are doing and this has been such a blessing in so many ways. We are hopeful that we can find some more contacts prior to leaving in January.
5) We need you!
The trip has got off to a cracking start but we are still in need of more support.
In order for solutions to be shared across the globe we need to get our message out there and a large part of this involves social media. Please give us a like, follow or share to help increase our following and showcase the work of the individuals in our videos.
The other half of the ask is the financial side. Most of you will know that our trip was made possible thanks to a scholarship from the R&A, based in St Andrews. This was enough to get us up and running but we are now actively seeking further sponsorship to ensure we get to all 14 destination countries to work with our initiatives.
We have an official crowdfunding page through the University of St Andrews which you can find here: https://saintsfunder.st-andrews.ac.uk/p/PLASTIC-Unwrapped/pitch/ . We would greatly appreciate any form of help that you can offer as we have yet to obtain any corporate sponsorship despite months of enquiries and emails and we are somewhat struggling to attract attention. So if you know of any grant or sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch!
Thank you 📷