how Be Someone got started.
I started Be Someone about three years ago after finding myself angrily picking up every piece of trash that I came across with.
Six years ago, I began to see an increase of plastic pollution underwater and in beaches. I didn’t think of it much, I only blamed it on the nearest town, and moved on. In 2017, my family and I went scuba diving to an extremely isolated spot, in the middle of nowhere. During that week, I began to come across an immeasurable amount of plastic, to the point that there were not enough hands (in a group of ten people) to get all of it out of the water.
During our dive breaks I began to pick up tiny pieces of plastic that were by the shore. I had picked up trash once before, as a volunteer for my local park (I needed volunteer hours to graduate High School). This time instead of skipping around it and getting disgusted by it, I began to pick up every single piece of plastic out of anger. I I was so angry and shocked from all this trash, I wanted everyone to see how polluted our oceans were and become conscious of it. Just like I just had, I wanted everyone to wake up.
As soon as I got home, I began to draw cartoons of marine animals struggling with certain single-use plastics I had come across while in those dives. I had no idea what to do with the drawings, I just had a feeling that more people had to become aware of all the plastic that was in the ocean. I felt like I needed to raise awareness and consciousness on the ocean’s plastic pollution crisis. In January of 2017, I turned my cartoons into stickers and patches, soon after I co-branded with Klean Kanteen and To-GO Ware in order to provide people with alternatives that were reusable rather than disposable. I launched an Etsy shop, and got myself involved in marine conservancy events in Florida, then began to raise awareness in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca where I partnered up with a local turtle conservancy organization, and gave part of my profits to in order to protect the nests and hatchlings of Olive Ridley turtles, Black Sea Turtles and Leatherback Turtles. Today, Be Someone hosts multiple beach cleanups throughout the year, and also supports climate action movements such as Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future.
The main challenge I face is that many people are aware of this issue, but many don’t really care enough about it. They feel that it doesn’t affect them, as it’s ‘personally’ not affecting them right now. However, they don’t realize that oceans are fundamental to the health of our planet, that they already are ingesting plastic as the microplastics marine animals ingest, go up the food chain to us, and that plastic is connected to Climate Change. Links between climate change and plastic are already known; 6% of global oil consumption goes towards creating plastics yet a study done by The University of Hawai’i has demonstrated that plastics actually release greenhouse gases after being created. Further research is needed to determine more precisely the mechanisms involved in this release of gas – nevertheless the study adds to the growing list of ways plastic is destroying our planet. (Parley. “A New Link Between Plastic and Climate Change.” PARLEY, PARLEY, 1 Aug. 2018)