Gilded vibe discussion no.1| Costa Rica beach clean up
After having the opportunity to host the Environmentalist Foundation’s 5-Minute Beach Cleanup at the Gilded Iguana Surf Club in Nosara, we took the time to exchange ideas with the organization’s founder: renowned Environmental Activist Carolina Sevilla @carolinasevilla_
Originally from San José, Carolina remained in Costa Rica for her studies and then, hopped on a plane straight to New York. Being the diplomat at the UN for Costa Rica, Carolina lived a few years in the city before she returned to her home country to enjoy a simpler life.
Living in Santa Teresa, in a small hut made of wood, Carolina only had to walk a few steps to come across that plastic reared its ugly head by covering the coastal lines with its harmful properties. To mitigate this issue, she made it a daily ritual to clean up the plastic remains. Seeing this, she decided to talk about it on Instagram to spread the world and increase awareness. Thanks to her actions, her commitment resonated with her community, which led for them to join her movement @5minutebeachcleanup.
90% of the plastic found on our shores comes directly from land, brought in by the currents. In Costa Rica, landfills are located near rivers, which in turn, funnel waste directly into the ocean. Clearly, this is a global issue that needs to be addressed so, Carolina made it her mission to ensure that we, as a society, are doing our part to protect our communities. #5minbeachcleanup was conceived from this hope to reach coastal communities, from Italy to the US, and reduce the presence of all types of waste.
Beach clean-ups make it obvious that the issue resides in our own consumption. Essentially, we are responsible for this garbage. The 5-minute beach clean-up movement is a way to raise awareness, and through small steps, inspire others to take impactful actions to diminish their usage of plastic. Seeing what our toothbrush or our plastic water be could become is a powerful image to see that everyone is part of the solution.
Carolina has made beach clean-ups a normal touristic activity to do in Costa Rica by interfacing with hotels to open the eyes of international clientele to the reality of plastic in this natural paradise. In parallel to that, she has been working with the office of tourism to develop the program Friends of the Ocean.
The Gilded Iguana Surf Club has been hosting this program by carrying a 5MBCP station in the Club. Before going to Guiones beach, guests can take a bucket to pick up the trash on the beach and bring it back after to discard the items found. When coming to set up the station, Carolina and Mauricio also trained the teams at The Gilded Iguana Surf Club to promote beach cleanup and discuss plastic pollution with guests.
Before developing the 5MBCP Foundation, Carolina was working with Bionic Yarn to give a second life to coastal plastics left on the beaches. This engineering company transforms plastic waste into apparel, furniture, or shoes. Doing this came from the realization that only 9% of the plastic is recycled in Costa Rica, a figure already higher than the worldwide average of 2%.
Following this partnership, Carolina transformed 5MCUP from an Instagram account to an educative non-profit organization accompanied by Mauricio Cortes. Being an adventure-oriented filmmaker, underwater photographer, and of course nature lover, Mauricio worked with Carolina to create an educational platform to spread the word about the mission. Their recent projects have included “Ocean Heroes” kids’ program to educate the youth to build a better future.
The foundation also leads numerous actionable programs to educate adults. Based on the fact that cigarette butts are main polluters of the coasts, 5MBCP displayed large ashtrays on the beaches to explain how they contaminate waters.
Eventually the goal of 5MBCP is to diminish by 30% single use plastic through consumer education. This would be a big win, even if single use trash increases by 200% each year. The ultimate strategy is consumer consciousness, as Carolina said so perfectly.
“The happier you are, the less you need” therefore we end up consuming less trash. Sustainability comes inside out, making education and small actions play a big role in changing behaviors: http://bit.ly/2wwJqOE
This being part of the surfing lifestyle in Nosara, 5MBCP is a key ambassador for our own values. We are looking forward to see Carolina and Mauricio succeed in their project!
Interview conducted by Charlene Hanania