Dashel x Ocean Sheroes
In July 2021, Ocean Sheroes completed The Great Pacific Rowing Race, a 2,700-mile row from San Francisco, California to Waikiki, Hawaii.
Their row set a new world record of 35 days and 14 hours: the fastest ocean crossing from San Francisco to Hawaii by an all-female rowing crew, beating the previous world record by two weeks.
The team also fundraised for the Seabin Project: a charity providing practical and tangible solutions to reduce plastic pollution in our seas.
The row was about much more than the sport; Ocean Sheroes are passionate about supporting charitable groups and like-minded environmental projects.
Through their own initiatives, the four champion degradable or plastic-free packaging, work to reduce their operational footprint, advocate responsible purchasing and partner with brands and companies that have sustainability at the heart of their business.
“Together, as a community, we want to bring about change in daily behaviours and habits, however small, that collectively preserves our home – the world – for future generations.” —Ocean Sheroes.
We caught up with Purusha to learn more about what protecting and preserving the ocean means to her.
What made you want to work with the Seabin Project?
“As a team, and in line with our main sponsor, we knew that one of our shared goals was planet preservation. Protecting the ocean is a common thread that we share, along with inspiring women to be bold and challenge themselves through sport. We felt that the Pacific row we were doing would be the inspiring piece, but for us as a team to preserve the planet, which is our home for future generations, was really important to all of us.
We wanted to work with an organisation that was doing something to clean up and protect our oceans. Because our row was across the Pacific, and the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ is such a huge problem, we really wanted to highlight this and find an organisation that was looking at solutions.”
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world. It covers an estimated surface area of 1.6 million km²: an area twice the size of Texas or three times the size of France.
“We love the technology that the Seabin Project has come up with. The Seabin Project not only sets up floating bins in rivers, harbours and marinas around the world, but also educates communities on the importance of cleaning up our oceans, and quite often, it’s the education piece that is most important to help people live a bit more consciously. It can help us all make better decisions about how we consume goods, think about what those goods are made of, and see if we can make better buying choices.
The Seabin Project also works in major cities worldwide and at a campaign level, working with large corporate organisations and lobbying governments. This is really important as we know that consumers can only do so much but it’s government policies that will also make considerable change happen.”
“The Seabin Project not only sets up floating bins in rivers, harbours and marinas around the world, but also educates communities on the importance of cleaning up our oceans, and quite often, it’s the education piece that is most important to help people live a bit more consciously. It can help us all make better decisions about how we consume goods, think about what those goods are made of, and see if we can make better buying choices.” —Purusha Gordon
Why is protecting the oceans important to you?
“As a mum of two young children, I’ve noticed in the last 20 years the change that has happened to our environment, and I’ve noticed the difference in our consumer behaviours.
Knowing that the ocean plays such an integral part in our life on land is fundamentally important. If we don’t have thriving oceans, then we as a human race will eradicate ourselves, and that’s the bit that I think people don’t really realise. This food all must come from somewhere, and our oxygen has to come from somewhere! It seems we are on an unconscious destructive path where the people at the top know about the damage to our environment, but many other people aren’t aware and haven’t considered it.”
Planet Earth is an amazing gift to all of us, and as a mum to two young children, I feel I have a responsibility to do my bit preserving that for my children and my children’s children in years to come. I don’t want to reach old age and to have them come to me and say, ‘your generation was the time to do something about it; why didn’t you?’”
What more do you think can be done?
“I feel passionate about sharing the message that if everybody makes one or two small changes in life, it all accumulates to create a more significant change. While we can hope that governments will make the right ethical choices, unfortunately, we can’t control what happens at that level. We can, however, control the behaviours that we make as individuals every day. I think it’s about showing people that it’s easy to make some of these changes to their lives, and it just takes a little bit of thought and consideration.
There are loads of organisations doing great work. Bracenet is a fantastic organisation with their work to remove ghost nets from the ocean. I think there are loads of people who are willing and want to do well and I think what I’m encouraged by is that the younger generation considers the planet a lot more than perhaps my generation and think, ‘what more can we be doing?’
I think we can all be sharing the positive steps that we’re making. Even if we believe it’s not making a difference to someone, if we all start talking about looking after the planet, preserving our oceans, preserving our forests and looking after each other, I think it will inspire people to make those small changes.
It would be great to change the narrative from the doom and gloom around rising temperatures and the idea that if we ‘don’t do something now then it’s critical,’ to examples of things that people can do and turn it into something positive, for instance giving examples of positive things that other individuals are doing and highlighting organisations that are carrying out excellent work.
Just look at water bottles as an example. In some respects, it seems like such a small thing, but the number of people that now have a reusable water bottle compared to two years ago when everybody was buying water on the hoof in single-use plastic bottles, it’s a huge change. If we can all make one behavioural change and encourage others to do the same, then that has the ripple effect, and the ripple effect is always powerful as it’s always those changes that lead to the long-term impacts. Those effects can help support the lobbyists and the activists in the work that they are doing and put pressure on governments to change the legislation, and to help those lobbyists to say that these needs are coming from the people and your policies need to change.”