The 5 Gyres Meetup

Crew Blog by Bree Irvin

Home of the man who sailed the Pacific on recycled trash

Crewmembers talk conservation and oceans with Marcus

Hikianalia crewmembers had the good fortune of being hosted by 5 Gyres founder, Marcus Eriksen at his home in Culver City, CA this past week. Joining him was 5 Gyres Director, Belinda Waymouth, Lydia Ponce of the Condor tribe from native Incan Peru, Adventures in Waste and SoCal 350 Nonprofitʻs Co-founder Jessica Aldridge and Jeff Lassanske, and Whakapaingia, a native Maori who specializes in acroyoga.

Whakapaingia and Lydia meet and greet PVS voyagers.

To start us off, Lydia of the Condor Tribe welcomed us with a ceremony passing sage to the owner of the house and then gifted to us. She explained the sage is passed from the 4 directions to provide health and protection to us as we travel. Ending with an offering of tobacco to the earth in honor the native ancestors, the Tongva Tribe, natives to the Los Angeles area.

Just before lunch, Whakapaingia, provided support for crew members to stretch out through realignment with his practices in yoga to keep the mind and body healthy.

Marcus is a man of many talents and interests that is reflected by his eclectic home full of idiosyncrasies, from his travels, inspirations, and ways of repurposing or recycling items. His workshop is in the backyard, its large door swung open beckoning one to look inside. There are dinosaur fossils from his digs in Wyoming, a giant tyrannosaurus skull; elsewhere in the yard various sculptures and experiments including the fuselage of an old plane repurposed as a tree house.

What can you do with an old pair of jeans?

His philosophy with art is in seeing reality versus how we perceive it. Most of his creative works involve recycled resources from plastic pelts found on the beach, or recycled aluminum, inspired to create awareness of the trash epidemic and live more consciously in repurposing single use items.

A pair of pants full of potting soil were hung from the shed. Marcus explains that it’s a way to “try to find ways to grow in anything and everything — like pants.” Indeed most these curious things demonstrate how we can get creative in giving old items or “trash” a second life. He lives fully sustainable, living plastic-free from no shower curtains to only bar soaps and composting disposable utensils.

The sophisticated junk raft included the fuselage of an old plane used as a cabin.

Marcus stepped into the limelight when he launched a raft made from 15,000 recycled plastic bottles and started an epic journey into the Pacific to raise awareness of the plastic epidemic in our oceans. His expedition led him adrift 88 days from Southern California to Hawaiʻi with provisioning for only two months and spent a month eating fish jerky and peanut butter until hitting Hawai’i.

Jessica and Jeff had been hard at work too with their nonprofit, So Cal 350 Adventures In Waste, a coalition of individuals and groups from the Southern California area banding together to fight climate change. They hope to continue their vision towards equitable clean air and water for a stable climate through a fossil-fuel-free future. Empowering our Southern California communities to join together for environmental, social, and economic justice.

This experience was telling of both the scientific and artistic ways in which these organizations speak to the mālama honua mission by spreading awareness through art, science and empowering action to the City of Angels and beyond.

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