David de Rothschild: The Plastiki Makes a Statement

David de Rothschild - PopTech 2010 - Camden, Maine

David de Rothschild - PopTech 2010 - Camden, Maine

In honor of Earth Day, check out David de Rothschild's incredible story about how he and his team built the Plastiki, a boat constructed from 12,000 plastic bottles. De Rothschild and his crew sailed halfway around the world to bring greater public awareness to the devastating impact of oceanic plastic pollutants and the need to reuse discarded plastics.

From the PopTech blog:

Sailing around the ocean on a boat made of plastic bottles might not be most people’s idea of a good time. But, as speaker David de Rothschild pointed out, it’s a great way to bring attention to an issue he’s passionate about: the impact of plastics on our planet and, specifically, our oceans.

De Rothschild is the unlikely captain of an even more unlikely ship: the Plastiki Eco-Expedition. The Plastiki is a boat made from 12,000 plastic bottles, which de Rothschild and his six-person crew of nautical nomads intend to sail from the South Pacific to Sydney. Referencing photographer Chris Jordan’s (a PopTech presenter from last year) work cataloging the catastrophic effect plastic has had on the seabird population, de Rothschild made a similar point that plastic does not disappear from the ecosystem. Every piece of plastic ever produced still exists: a fact that surely would have surprised its inventor and perhaps given him pause to reflect on the unintended consequences of this “brilliant accident”.

By building a boat out of something usually considered waste, de Rothschild hopes to increase its perceived value: essentially creating diamonds where once there was only debris. See photos of the Plastiki boat in action at: http://www.theplastiki.com/photos/