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The following article was contributed by Sperry Ambassador Amanda Goad. Follow her at @Amanda_Goad.

The only way we’re going to change the world is by doing a little bit to move the needle, every single day.

In January, I had the unbelievable experience of joining Sperry in Antigua to sail onboard Sea Dragon with Pangaea Explorations. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, introducing this mountain girl to sailing for the first time, opening my eyes to the very big plastics issue our oceans have, and inspiring me to get involved to make an impact in any and every way that I can. You can read more about Sperry x Pangaea here.

Emily Penn Pangaea Exploration

Meet @missemilypenn, a badass sailboat skipper and ocean advocate dedicated to studying environmental challenges in the most remote parts of our planet. Onboard Sea Dragon, she walked us through how she started studying our oceans on so many scientific levels and gave us an overview of just some of the environmental issues the majority of our planet and the ocean face today – from climate change and rising acidity to waste management and carcinogen toxins.

Sperry Pangaea Exploration Trawling

On the first morning of our trip, we trolled for plastics, and in the afternoon we analyzed what we found on the ocean’s surface under the microscope. It’s obvious how the ocean’s animals can easily mistake a tiny water-washed piece of plastic for a tasty little meal.

Emily Penn Beach Clean Up

The next day, we spent just an hour cleaning up less than a 1/2-mile of coastline right in the path of the Atlantic Ocean winds and this is what we collected: The amount of trash on one beach in the Caribbean was astonishing. It really opened my eyes to yet another environmental issue our beautiful blue planet faces. That day, we hauled out 250 water bottles from a 1/2-mile stretch of beach – among many other items.

Then, we sat in Sea Dragon’s saloon and discussed the endless possibilities on how we can start plugging away at the ocean’s pollutant problems. We chatted big picture and individual efforts and are eager to spread the word about what we can all do to move forward towards positive change.

Amanda Goad Sperry

Whether you’re from the mountains like me, inland, or the coastline, we have to come to terms that this is our problem. Everyone’s problem. A global problem. I’m excited to be working with Sperry on this challenge and eager to be the change this remarkable and finite planet needs.

So, on Earth Day and every day, try to think about your plastic consumption. What could you reduce using? Maybe even just for today. Do you really need that water bottle from the convenience store? Maybe take a count of all the plastic items you use for just 1-10 minutes today. You may be surprised how high your number becomes. Let’s all try to use a little less, a little more often.

5 Tips to Make an Impact Today:

1. Don’t use “one-time use” plastics – avoid that smoothie drink that comes in a plastic bottle that you’ll probably toss out in 5 minutes, and shoot for bamboo or metal utensils.

2. Carry re-useable grocery bags with you to the market, instead of plastic bags.

3. Take a shorter shower, and help us all conserve our water consumption.

4. Share some info about plastic pollution on our oceans with a friend, and spread the word to get more people involved in the change needed. You can find more info here.

5. Heading to the beach? Help clean it up. Even if you take just 3 pieces of trash from the beach, a river’s edge, or a creek-side, you’ll make a big impact on our planet. You can learn more about the collective impact of a small gesture here.

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