On World Oceans Day 2017 Carlos and Carolyn became the first people in the world to paddle a marathon on a SUP made out of plastic bottles. They went on to complete 12 marathons (42km) in 12 countries in Europe, catching the eye of European media to raise awareness of plastic pollution in our waterways. The plastic bottle SUP creates a real impact and is a great tool to initiate a conversation about plastic pollution.
This year Carlos and Carolyn will paddle 300km from the navigable source of the River Thames at Lechlade to the sea at Gravesend. They will paddle on two SUPs made out of recycled plastic bottles and will ask children to share their ‘Message in a Bottle’ in the form of Bottle Bunting, to deliver to parliament when they reach London. Along the route, they will talk to schools, MPs and local councilors to inspire behaviour change and encourage innovative solutions to the problem of plastic pollution.
What we'll deliver:
- Inspire people to change behaviour surrounding plastic consumption
- Talk to schools, collect and share ideas in the form of Bottle Bunting.
- Talk to policy makers.
- Encourage people to paddle with us.
- Spread awareness in a fun and positive way.
Why it's a great idea:
Plastic lasts forever and yet it is used for items that we use once for just a few minutes. The flow of plastic is making its way into the River Thames, spoiling the nature and damaging wildlife, even affecting the course of the River. The Plastic Bottle SUP is an incredible tool to start a conversation about plastic pollution. It creates a real impact and inspires people to think about how they might also take action. We will clean up the River on route and join clean ups. We will further encourage social engagement with the Bottle Bunting Challenge- the first task is to up-cycle old fabric and the second is to share a 'message in a bottle' suggesting how to tackle the problem of plastic pollution. We are collaborating with several environmental group and sports clubs. The project is also about re-connecting to nature. We want to encourage people to spend more time outside in nature- promoting a healthy, active lifestyle. When you start to appreciate nature, you want to protect it.
Steps to get it done:
- We will paddle 300km down the Thames in 17 legs.
- We will clean up the Thames as we go.
- We have partnered with environmental organisations
- We have already spoken to three Primary schools
- We will speak to and collect messages from approx 1000 children
- We are running workshops for children at Barnes Literature Festival
'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’ Nelson Mandela
As teachers, Carlos and Carolyn are passionate about inspiring the next generation to become creative designers for a more sustainable world. They have developed Bottle Boards workshops to teach children about circular economy design and turning waste into a valuable resource. They will launch the full Bottle Boards program in September 2018 but will be talking to schools all along the Thames during the Source to Sea and inviting children to participate in the Message in a Bottle Bunting challenge.
Various SUP, kayak, rowing and canoes clubs as well as individual will join Carlos and Carolyn on their journey and help to clean up the river on their way helping to transform and restore the river to healthy place that people will want to enjoy.