eXXpedition's focus on ensuring diversity on board is in recognition of the fact that we need a wide range of approches, backgrounds and skillsets to bring to bear on the issue in order to effectively catalyze change.
On board Leg 5 we saw the result of this first hand; the richness of our discussions certainly would not have been possible if we had all come from similar backgrounds. In terms of demographics, we had 10 guest crew from 7 different nations and 4 pro crew from 3 different nations. A truly transdisciplinary dream team. Our crew comprised women with academic backgrounds in environmental science and education, oceanography, finance, public health and medicine, communications and marketing. These women are storytellers, artists, philosophers, activists and more who had many other accolades to their names as well. For instance, one was a Founder of a successful business that offers personal care products in aluminum bottles that can be returned, refilled and reused (shameless plug for Plaine Products), whilst another was a Olympic gold medalist. Across the board, we were united by a passion and history of seeking out opportunities to be change makers. One of the most interesting activities we participated in on board was the SHiFT approach to brainstorming strategies for addressing plastics issues at the source, by avoiding, closing the loop, down-cycling and minimaizing damage, before plastics reach the sea. eXXpedition has developed a very useful SHiFT toolkit designed to empower individuals and communties to play a role at different levels.
It has been nearly one month to the day that we returned from eXXpedition and to see how the other women plan to use their platform will be interesting. Interviews, outreach to schools, introducing changes at our workplace, attendance at conferences and other events which provide an opportunity to interact and share the experience with others is already happening and set to unfold! To circle back to what I mentioned at the beginning of this post concerning effective approaches, stay tuned for my next entry!