The seafaring Steenland family, whose environmental and social efforts are collectively known as The Sea Monkey Project, this week launched a crowdfunding drive to operationalise the production of a new range of bags made entirely of upcycled ocean waste. This is the “Sea Monkeys’” first Kickstarter campaign. It goes far beyond taking the trash out of the water and repurposing it. The team have been doing this for several years through an established network of community sites, predominantly in Malaysia, to make upcycled accessories.
100% Upcycled Bags that are designed & handcrafted by The Sea Monkey Project! Made from 100% upcycled sails, kites, fishing nets, & plastic.
i) Manta Ray – our light backpack, perfect for carrying your laptop, books, and school supplies.
ii) Sea Jelly – our ultralight hip pack, perfect for carrying your daily essentials: phone, cards, cash & coins, with room to spare.
iii) Whale Shark – our spacious tote bag, perfect for carrying your groceries and shopping, from the market or mall.
Material Waste That Has Been Upcycled So Far In Creating The 100% Upcycled Bags.
The Sea Monkeys team have sourced a large amount of their material by Airush kites from customers who have had their kites come to an end of life! So give them a shout when your kites and sails have had enough.
This new initiative seeks to generate AU$100k in 30 days, through pledges starting as low as $1. Moreover, it will use bag production and sales as a powerful springboard to scale up their broader social and environmental impact. Furthermore, the campaign drives an impressive range of benefits, which include:
1. Regenerating critical mangrove forests through a partnership with Earth Restoration. Planting 1 mangrove tree for every bag sold by the Sea Monkey Project;
2. Boosting the reach of their environmental education workshops and programmes across South East Asia;
3. Generating a livelihood for the refugee workers who handcraft each bag sold by The Sea Monkey Project. Most of whom have escaped violence in their home country and struggle to gain other employment;
4. Empowering mothers in indigenous Orang Asli communities by providing a source of financial independence through the operation of plastic recycling enterprises; and
5. Expanding clean-up efforts through partnerships with organisations such as The Rumah Hijau (Green Home) on Tioman Island, Malaysia. Collecting discarded fishing nets tangled in mangrove forests, and manage “waste” from resorts, restaurants, and residences.
Individual Contributions Make a Difference
Carlos Steenland, the co-founder of The Sea Monkey Project, is a firm believer that individual contributions can make a big difference: “Any increase in the scale of our bag making operations will lead to many transformative knock-on benefits. It will enable us to touch a lot of lives and do a lot of good for the environment where it’s really needed – and quickly ramp up our impact.”
Carlos, his wife Sarah, and their two children left Australia for South-East Asia on their 41 ft sailing yacht, Sea Monkey, 5 years ago when daughter Sydney was just 10, and son Indi was 7. However, their dreams of adventures in paradise took a disappointing twist when they found themselves unable to escape endless plastic waste and “ghost” fishing nets. Above all, this close-up encounter with such disturbing environmental plight inspired the Steenland’s to devote their lives to making the planet a better, cleaner place – and they do it as a team.
The Sea Monkeys Project Plastic Recycling Machines
In addition, the entire family helps to set up plastic recycling machines and industries with local communities, many in remote island villages, with each family member contributing their strengths to create an ever-evolving range of solutions.
Who Are The Sea Monkeys?
Firstly, Sarah, a professional cartoonist and graphic designer, creating educational materials and programmes focused on sustainability and plastic pollution and collaborates with NGOs, the UN, and planet-friendly brands including Starboard and The Body Shop. Furthermore, Sarah states that education is vital: “It allows us to broaden our reach from a single organization to a community of students, educators, and workers all committed to collective action for social and environmental health.”
Meanwhile, Carlos heads up the expansion of plastic recycling projects. Across the world, he as delivered over 20 machines. This includes 9 in Malaysia, where The Sea Monkey Project began and made their headquarters. Furthermore, Starboard is also lucky enough to have their very own Precious Plastic Machine from the Sea Monkeys Project too!
Finally, to round up the team, we have the youngsters! At just age 15, Sydney is an in-demand spokesperson and activist for various environmental causes. Her attendance is often found at international events, which she does in addition to running Sea Monkey Project’s youth-based initiatives. The youngest family member, Indi, now 12, is actively involved in leading plastic recycling workshops, video editing, and animation.
Phone/WhatsApp: +60 18-468 0952
Messenger: Carlos Steenland