From Issue 1

When you think of the climate crisis and plastic pollution, you might think of them as two separate environmental issues — but they are interconnected. In the ocean and elsewhere in the environment, plastics are vulnerable to light, heat, and moisture. As plastic degrades, it breaks up into microplastics and releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Every year, about 8 million metric tonnes of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations. That’s equal to setting five garbage bags full of trash on every foot of coastline around the world. Plastic has touched every corner of the world, from arctic sea ice to the deepest trenches of the ocean. Each year over one million animals die due to ingesting or getting entangled in plastic. Not only is plastic impacting marine life in the ocean, but it is impacting us. It is in our drinking water, our food, in our organs, and even in the air we breathe.

I live hundreds of miles away from the nearest coastline, but that does not mean that depleting ocean health won’t impact me too. When the ocean suffers, we all suffer. The threat of plastic pollution on our oceans is a threat to our wellbeing. And it is time we take action on it.

Plastic is not just a problem at the end of its life (as pollution in the ocean); the problem starts from the wellhead and continues throughout each stage of the plastic lifecycle.

99% of plastic is produced from oil. Currently, 4-8% of annual global oil consumption is for plastics. The World Economic Forum estimates that if our reliance on plastic continues, plastic will account for 20% of oil consumption by 2050.

As the production of plastics is projected to keep increasing, so too is the hazardous flow of plastics in the ocean. In fact, the amount of plastic waste entering the ocean is projected to triple by the year 2040 unless we do something to stop it.

you, are already leading the way to change and providing so much hope. Youth-led movements are making headways, and the world is beginning to listen. Politicians, CEOs, and people in positions of power are waking up to the realization that environmental preservation is essential— not optional.

There is a global movement to protect the Earth we rely on, and youth are at the forefront of it.

I am so proud to be among the many young voices speaking out and demanding action. Youth activists across the globe are creating the world we want to see and the future in which we want to live. We are not allowing our age to stop us from achieving our goals now.

Young people are making their voices heard, and that is why our mission is to create content for youth — by youth. I am so honored to welcome you to the very first issue of OH-WAKE. We hope this issue provides further insight into the ocean plastic crisis, as well as motivates you to continue your own Ocean Hero journey. Throughout the next few issues, we will cover other ocean and climate related topics.

My team and I are so excited to finally share our creativity, passion, and curiosity with you.

Donate to Ocean Heroes and get, or gift a print subscription to Oh-Wake

There are three different expedition levels to choose from. Every donation supports OH-WAKE, a resource created by youth activists for youth activists.