We are a diverse group of scientists, educators, environmentalists, artists, divers and sailors from all corners of the world, brought together by our shared concern with environmental degradation. Our lands and oceans are overwhelmingly contaminated with all sorts of man-made toxins, in particular, plastic waste and microplastics. What are we, as plastics consumers, doing to cause environmental pollution on such a colossal scale, and how can we undo it? To find this out, we are establishing a research and education sailing expedition to gather scientifically relevant data and explore the less tangible aspect of plastic pollution - human behaviour. We will share our results with the curious audience, as well as use them to influence legislation, revise school curricula and generate positive behavioural change.
Ana Markic (Croatia)
Ana is the founder of Plastic Blues project and our lead scientist. She holds a PhD in marine science from the University of Auckland (New Zealand) and Masters degree in Marine Science and Management from Southern Cross University (Australia). She has spent the last decade in the Pacific region, mostly studying plastic pollution of the oceans and being involved in various environmental initiatives. Her current research focuses on consumer behavior, plastics production, minimisation and disposal, and legislation around it. Ana is also deeply passionate about island sustainability and improvement of the quality of life in Small Island Developing States. She has done fieldwork and labwork in many remote Pacific locations, and has gained valuable experience working in conditions far from ideal. She is a keen sailor, diver, dancer and amateur photographer.
Clemens Oestreich (Germany)
Clem is the co-founder of Plastic Blues project and the owner of Infinity. He is a captain, diver, kite-surfer and adventurist with 25 years of experience at sea. He has raised five children on his ship, while running a community and engaging in environmental activism on all seven continents. Over the years, wandering and exploring the oceans, Clem has witnessed extensive degradation of the environment, including the plastification of the oceans, coral bleaching, chronic over-fishing and displacement of remote communities from rising sea levels. In 2018, he planted the EarthFlag on the Arctic Polar ice cap to remind the people of Earth to take care of each other and the planet we live on.
Raquelle de Vine (New Zealand)
Raquelle is a passionate ocean advocate and a sailor, with years of sailing experience and expertise in outreach and ocean sampling. She has a background in environmental sustainability and outdoor education and has been an educator, as well as first mate and vessel coordinator, with Algalita Marine Research and Education for over 3 years now. Currently, she is directing their new South Pacific chapter in Aotearoa New Zealand. We are super lucky to have her on Plastic Blues team too! Raquelle has been involved with numerous projects, including educational program Ship to Shore and the Pure Tour campaign in New Zealand, generally promoting sustainable and informed use of plastics, with the final goal of its reduction and prevention of plastic pollution.
Linn Charlotte Klund and Paul Lübbe (Norway, Germany)
Charlotte and Paul are sailors and ocean nomads. They have been sailing the oceans on their little yacht for six years. Charlotte is an anthropologist, invested in environmental questions since she was a child. Paul is a teacher with a genuine interest in the history of sailing and exploration, especially in Arctic waters. Onboard their yacht, Paul is the hobby-electrician and Charlotte the hobby-carpenter. Their circumnavigation has become a huge eye-opener for them. Wherever they sailed, they found an evidence climate change having a large impact on nature and people. Furthermore, regardless of how far they escaped civilisation, it was impossible to escape plastic trash. As “Amanda-Sailing”, Paul and Charlotte are currently organising educational workshops and giving lectures on their travels and experiences. They each speak six languages and have navigated more than half of the planet.
Elisabeth Denis (Canada)
Eli comes from the culturally vibrant city of Montreal, Canada. She is an artist, a web designer and a yoga teacher, with a background in communications and cinema, and event management. Her love for poetic words and moving pictures started at a very young age. A notebook always lived in her bag and as soon as she discovered that she could freeze moments into a frame for what seems to be infinity, she was hooked. You can find Eli at the beach or with her head between pages.
Ruben Oestreich (Trinidad & Tobago)
Having grown up on Infinity, and spending the larger part of his life sailing the seas, Ruben is a born and bred sailor and explorer. He loves adventure and anything to do with the ocean. The health of our oceans is just as important to him as that of the land. Like many others, he finds the detrimental changes of the aquatic world frightening. And seeing firsthand the vast amount of pollution caused by our very own consumption of plastic, makes it impossible to look the other way. Now that he is out of school, he is ready to do his part.
Sage Livingston (USA)
Sage is an artist and she is highly experienced with group dynamics and project-based planning. She tries to live a sustainable and conscious lifestyle. Sage is currently working on a ‘Stories from the heart’ podcast, focusing on driving positive change through playfulness, as well as exposing individuals’ strengths and integrity. Sage is a mother of two, and loves to paint, sing and dance.
Justin Pearce (New Zealand)
Justin Pearce is our first generous donor, without whom this project would not be possible. He is a music educator, currently working at Onslow College, Wellington (NZ), where he enjoys working with a highly creative community of talented individuals. Justin has an interest in music from indigenous cultures and he is currently learning the shakuhachi (Japanese flute). He is proud to be part of Pacific Blues whanau.
Janine Wong (Canada)
Janine is a graphic designer from Toronto, Canada. She has a background in science, having spent several summers studying colonial nesting birds and fish in Hamilton Harbour. While no longer immersed in the world of academia, she is cautiously fulfilling her dream of becoming an explorer through weekend adventures. As a designer and strategist, she is committed to helping not-for-profit organisations communicate their message clearly and effectively. Janine worked with Ana to develop the Plastic Blues brand and website.
Ursula Rojas-Nazar (Chile)
Ursula holds a PhD in marine biology from Victoria University, New Zealand. She’s an interdisciplinary scientist, active environmentalist and a mother. She worked on environmental projects related to biological, economic and social marine protected areas, where she learned how to apply critical thinking to education and environmental research. She has worked with wider communities, stakeholders and policymakers. She’s always on the lookout for a new challenge that encourages and stimulates solutions to complex socio-environmental issues.