To erase the damage of global human consumerism and resulting debilitating waste would mean the end of humankind as we know it. The sad reality we face is that not all wrongdoings can be atoned. Redemption is for those who need not peace of mind but innocuous actions, that may have been resoundingly harmful to anyone else but the self, are not fixable by one “silver bullet” solution.

As in life, our consequences can dictate a series of negative problems in the future. The snowball of a monstrosity which is the plastic waste problem has taken humans a little less than 70 years to permanently ingratiate pollutants into millions of plants’ and animals’ ecosystems. Biodiversity is now tangled in a web of macro and micro plastic. We now are at the stage that we cannot remove the plastic at the bottom of our oceans or whole ecosystems would be destroyed. *8 million tons of plastics enter into our oceans each year

Photo credit: eXXpedition & Alexa Schindel

So why am I amongst the 300 women chosen out of thousands of applicants from over 100 nationalities to pursue this problem aboard the eXXpedition sailing vessel “TravelEdge” on a 2-year all-female sailing mission to fight this plastic problem?

I had a difficult start to life that could have led to a disastrous future. But it was not so. From the power of familial love from my adoptive family and a positive environment to spark my intellect and curiosity, I became educated, a leader, tenacious (as my crew members called me). Invited into a society for the top IQ in the world “Mensa” as a child and my intelligence gave me confidence. I was “bossy” as a little girl or perhaps “normal” if I was born a boy. My big mouth led me to become a coxswain for the number 1 rowing team in America and later I became a business leader of a lifestyle PR company JPR Media Group.

This eXXpedition introduced me to an issue, a component of our human destruction, that I could help with. I have a voice. The media and my connections get me heard in ways that brilliant minds in science ought to.

Photo credit: eXXpedition & Jessica Patterson

These excellent, driven, hardworking researchers should be receiving a piece of the funding that political campaigns and warfare are getting ingloriously. Why fund a war or even a politician to lead that war when the earth is becoming its own war zone. We are our own worst enemy. We destroy each other and destroy our own homes through greed and fear. There is no stopping our consumption; there are only ways to stop the volume and impact of our inevitable waste.

My fellow sailing team and professional sailors are all women of clout in their respective professions. Scientists, doctors, zoologists, researchers, a shipping company SVP, teachers, an artist. The fierce captain and sailors themselves were some of the most able-bodied and multi-talented women I have ever met with medical knowledge, survival abilities, and cooking skills that would secure them in a post-apocalyptic Zombie world if we truly did save the world.

We hosted our last talk of Leg 6 at the Galapagos Science Centre to share our science research on board, our backgrounds, what we learned, and what we plan to do back on land. The plastic waste we found scourging the upper layers the ocean from Panama with Manta Trawls and Niskins was discouraging.

Photo credit: eXXpedition & Jessica Patterson

Barrels, plastic bottles, croc shoes, a lemon juice bottle – the big and small plastic we found was abundant. Our research mission has impacted our team which give us the motivation to make any small changes within our own communities when we get back to land. Even if we influence 1 person to reduce their plastic usage, this small ripple effect can be passed on.

Our boat of women are survivors in so many ways. With a passion for saving the planet, the ability to cope with hardships and struggles, and their own tenacity that led them to get accepted on this voyage speaks volumes.

We came together to help find solutions to save something bigger than ourselves – the world we live in. And what I learned through being a pre-determined failure in life myself is that nothing is hopeless. If any man, woman or child can help save the world, even a little bit, this team of super women will definitely lead the way.