The UN-affiliated environmental organization Parley for the Ocean has teamed up with Adidas Shoe to create a prototype running shoe that it claims is made from recycled plastic ocean debris. The shoe, made from materials collected off the coast of West Africa by a Sea Shepherd expedition to shadow illegal trawling activity there, features a surface made from blue plastic monofilament used in fishing lines and netting worldwide. It made its public debut at the New York kickoff party for the UN-sponsored Parley for the Ocean talks, which bring together public and private sector participants in an effort to turn around the rapid decline of the world’s oceans.
“2048 seems to be the overall accepted deadline [according to scientists] for the collapse of all commercial fisheries, and already by 2025 all the coral reef ecosystems in the world will be gone. Leading environmentalists already see the end of most sea life happening in 6–16 years,” notes the Parley for the Oceans Web site. “Diminishment of biodiversity in our ocean is the single greatest threat to the survival of humanity. With diminishment of species in our oceans comes diminishment of the quality of life for humanity. What are the causes of this continuing mass extinction and imminent threat to our collective survival?”
The site notes several major factors in the oceans’ decline, including commercial overfishing, climate change, ocean acidification, and pollution with plastic and chemicals. Plastics have become a major problem; they make up a large part of the Texas-sized “garbage patch” of floating debris that has formed in the Pacific between California and Hawaii, for instance, and local groups annually haul tons of it from remote Kamilo beach on the Big Island, where it has actually begun to form plastic sand.
“Artists, musicians, actors, directors, fashion designers, journalists, architects, product inventors, and scientists have the tools to mold the reality we live in and to develop alternative business models and ecologically sensible products to give us earthlings an alternative choice, an everyday option to change something,” it notes. “To succeed, we need to find ways to synchronize the economic system of mankind with the ecosystem of nature. And make environmental protection fiscally lucrative for pacesetting major companies. Parley has been created to accelerate a process of change that is already in progress.”
The new shoe, whose innovative design even got spread in the avante-garde art site thisiscollosalcom, is just one small example of what can be don toward that “synchronization.” A company called GStar RAW, in collaboration with musician Pharrell Williams, already produces a line of “denim” clothing made from fibers extracted from marine debris. Parley for the Ocean founder Cyrill Gutsch told the Web site takepart.com, “Realistically we will retrieve around 10,000 tons of plastic this year from shorelines and by retrieving discarded fishing nets, which we do in collaboration with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.”
Takepart.com also reported that Parley, working Sea Shepherd, has “already started collecting plastic in China, Australia, Hawaii, and the East and West Coasts of the United States. Collection will begin soon in Brazil, Mexico, the Maldives, Greece, France, and the United Kingdom.”