On 8th February 2020, eXXpedition Mission Leader Sally Earthrowl was invited to present about our Round the World mission to our Silver Sponsors, international law firm Slaughter and May.

Armed with microplastic samples from Legs 2 & 3 of the mission for demonstration, which included plastic showing visible nibble marks from fish and photographs of trash-filled uninhabited islands, Sally’s presentation provided an opportunity for Slaughter and May employees to gain real insight into the severity and diversity of the plastic problem. From source to sea, Sally discussed the challenges that are presented by the plastic issue – including plastic production, ocean gyres and waste management – and how eXXpedition works to address them.

“Here’s [a photo of] me standing atop the dump, looking out to sea – and that’s the point. Right here you’ve got the mangroves… and then the sea. All across this plane of sand you can see leaching coming from the landfill site, going out into the marine environment.”

Photo credit: Slaughter and May / eXXpedition

During the session, Sally also recounted the first 5 legs of the voyage, highlighting key successes from the mission so far and providing a look into what the next 24 legs will hold. Describing how eXXpedition is making a change not only to the plastic problem but to the lives of the women who have joined as crew, Sally said:

“There’s a moment in every journey that clicks – a “shift moment” that makes everyone on board sit up and want to take action. And it’s in that moment that everyone starts talking about solutions, hope and the power that every individual has to make a difference.”

The event concluded with a panel session, where audience members had the opportunity to ask Sally questions. Several insightful questions addressed topics ranging from disposal of beach clean plastic to empowering women in STEM.

As well as providing essential pro bono legal support for eXXpedition’s Round the World, Slaughter and May and working with eXXpedition and Young Citizen to create unique educational resources to be used in schools across the nation, which will be rolled out later in the year.

Slaughter and May’s involvement in Round the World goes far beyond the voyage itself and as one of their important entry points to the Sustainable Development
Goals, touching not just on plastics and pollution but also on responsible consumption, gender equality, quality education, clean water and beyond.

Thank you to Slaughter and May for inviting us to present and also for their continual support for our mission.