Exploring Toxics in our Bodies & the Ocean with eXXpedition
November 25, 2015
Here’s a word from eXXpedition—a new Mission Blue partner:
eXXpedition is a series of all-women voyages to make the unseen seen, from the toxics in our bodies to the toxics in our seas.
We question the impact and scale of plastic and toxic pollution in our bodies and in our oceans using a unique and adventurous approach, tackling the questions from all angles—using science, communications, media, and education to get the answers.
We have designed a series of global expeditions where we take novice sailors, who are highly skilled professionals from a range of disciplines, out into an extreme environment to explore the problem and develop solutions. Our primary aim is to connect people with the ocean, and the issues of plastic and toxic pollution.
Chemical pollution impacts women and future generations everywhere. Through the first eXXpedition ‘body burden’ study we saw that each crewmember had toxic chemicals known to cause hazards to health in their bodies. Wherever you are in the world you are impacted by hazardous chemicals in the environment.
Our eXXpedition voyages give scientists, journalists, artists, filmmakers, educators and designers an opportunity to collect data, footage and findings and bring change to our global society. Through the use of ‘manta trawl’ nets, water sampling, citizen science and digital technologies we continue to add to the growing dataset of plastics and toxics in our ocean. These datasets, quantifying plastic fragments in the ocean and chemical pollution contaminating water, permit scientists to study the problem. The data also empower policymakers with evidence to support global action on toxic chemicals and influence governments to take regulatory action for a cleaner environment.
Through the curation of a solely female project we celebrate the role of women in science, technology and sailing. We are breaking down the stereotypes of women, and also harnessing the power within them. eXXpedition is using the latest tools in citizen science from using iPads and geolocation technologies to participating in crowdsourced global experiments.
We strive to inform consumers about everyday choices they make in selecting products that are healthy for themselves and the environment, changing markets and driving innovation. eXXpedition tackles this little discussed topic in a new and different way. We hope to create conversations that enable the general public to participate and use the gained knowledge to make informed consumer choices.
Within a year of establishing eXXpedition, we organized our first voyage from Lanzarote to Martinique, researching plastics and toxics in the ocean as we sailed. This voyage created 14 global ambassadors who are now communicating their experiences internationally using the science of the state of plastic and toxic pollution in our oceans. eXXpedition will engage over 50 global ambassadors in the next 12 months through participation in sailing eXXpeditions monitoring plastic and toxic pollution.
Currently our crew is sailing from Senegal to Brazil via Ascension Island and from Brazil to Guyana via the mouth of the Amazon. In 2016, our Caribbean eXXpedition will take place island hopping first from Trinidad to St. Lucia via Barbados and second from St. Lucia to Antigua via Dominica. The crew will be conducting plastics and toxics monitoring for the first time in the Caribbean (subject to permits).
We created a film of the first 2014 voyage that premiered at the Royal Geographical Society for International Women’s Day (8th of March) to an audience of over 300 academics, journalists and campaigners. The shorter film below shows all the wet moments!
We delivered a presentation to the United Nations in May 2015 telling the story of the voyage and the invisible chemical pollution termed our ‘body burden’ in our bodies. This project contributes to the UN Citizen Science Initiative, Safe Planet.
eXXpedition knows that successful innovation rarely comes from within an industry—it takes outsiders tackling problems in fresh ways with a mix of disciplines to create solutions. The immersiveness of the experience created on our voyages, taking women to an extreme environment (like three weeks at sea), shifts their horizon and creates a powerful bonding experience that energizes eXXpedition ambassadors and unites them for life.
Learn more at http://exxpedition.com