My love of the water found me through a love of water sports. As an undergrad at Cornell, I explored marine ecosystems as a certified windsurfing and catamaran sailing instructor.
My curiosity for what lay below to surface led me to a National Geographic Young Explorers workshop with Christian, a blond-haired surfer, and Gordon, a kayaker who had taken a year off to film episodes of Survival in Indonesia, and the three of us decided it was time to find a way to protect our aquatic playground and make environmentalism cool. From there, we set out to film a paddleboarding documentary around Bermuda—the closest populated land mass to a well-known plastic garbage patch—to raise awareness about the rampant plastic pollution in an area that was otherwise so beautiful. Along the way, we visited local schools, organized beach cleanups, and hosted trash art workshops, putting the name "Plastic Tides" on our efforts.
This trip, and the ones that have followed, have given me a unique perspective on environmentalism and adventure, science and awareness. I've seen a few of the 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals killed annually from plastic in our oceans firsthand. I've witnessed some of the 40 billion plastic utensils we go through in the United States alone floating through crystalline blue waters.