May 3, 2018 | BY Frida Ongre
“People protect what they love and they love what they protect”
One of Starboard Blue’s top ambassadors, Shilpika Gautam, took to the stage at the annual Voices 4 Oceans event hosted by 5 Gyres. Check out her recap below!
“In the history of humankind, there has never been a greater, more urgent need to make the environmental conversation a “norm” and accessible to as many people as possible – Very often, however, this becomes a case of preaching to the converted.
So how do we get more of us thinking more consciously & consistently about our interaction with this planet? How do we influence “greener” & “bluer” lifestyle choices? How do we highlight the beauty, and yet the fragility of earth and move people to action?
It is against this background and with these challenges in mind that 5 Gyres hosted their 2nd Annual storytelling event, Voices 4 Oceans in LA this spring. I was lucky to be invited to share the speaker’s stage with an incredibly, inspiration array of ocean warriors & activists, including Pete Bethune-Earth Race Conservation, Greg Bonann- Co-creator of Baywatch, Vipe Desai- Serial Entrepreneur and Disruption Expert, Szilvia Gogh – Cancer survivor and Action woman extraordinaire.
Each one of us relates to water – our oceans, our rivers in very different ways; what unites us all is that when we think of our connection with water, we think of something beautiful, something positive, something spiritual. While we are all working towards cleaner water, cleaner oceans in our own ways in different parts of the world, our purpose is driven by how the oceans move something deeply emotional inside us. This was also very much the brief for our talks on the night of the event – to tell the stories behind why we do the work we do – why we love the oceans- what connects us to water?
5 gyres are one of the world’s leading nonprofits focused on reducing plastics pollution, through science, adventure & education. I was aware of their work but it was through a fortuitous encounter in Italy last year where I really understood their approach to cleaner oceans. I was at the Starboard sponsored Protect Blue ocean conference where I met Haley Jain, 5 gyres’ director of partnerships & development- she was a leading a beach clean-up followed by a microplastics workshop. We found much to chat about and I was chuffed when Haley asked if I would be open to sharing my stories from the Ganges and from India at the Voices4Oceans event.
8 months later, thanks to Starboard and Lykke Blue, I found myself in LA, talking about life, death, swimming in “shit” and how “the river always provides” in front of an incredibly engaged & diverse audience. Besides the storytelling, the event also ran a silent auction -there was some incredible art up for grabs, as well as surfboards, skateboards etc. The event itself was zero waste which was fairly impressive given the numbers involved.
Big thanks again to Starboard and Lykke Blue for supporting me – and to 5Gyres for such an incredible platform !”
You can check out Shilpika’s talk in the video below. Forward to 36:36 for her speech – but we encourage you to watch all the awesome stories!
Follow Shilpika’s adventures on Instagram.