ExploraGyre is a future-oriented and challenging project led by 5 students from the Ecole normale supérieure de Lyon and the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées (National Institute of Applied Sciences) of Lyon, France. Their background in Biology, Ecology, Physics and Informatics is essential for environmental questions, and particularly the plastic ocean pollution.
Every year and for a long time, 12.7 billions of tons of plastics are poured in the ocean. At the end of the last century, an alarming plastic continent was discovered in the Pacific ocean. Now, it is up to the North Atlantic ocean to reveal its own plastic continent. "Plastic continent" does not reflect the real challenge: it is not a localized but a global phenomenon, it is not stable but a moving mass with a poorly known dynamic, it is not disconnected from the marine ecosystems but, on the contrary, closely linked to it. The reality is more blurred: a large broth of plastics, more or less compacted depending on the currents. In the North Atlantic ocean, this gyre concentrates huge quantities of plastics in its center.
The stakes of this environmental crisis are enormous: indeed, it is coupled to the world biosphere crisis already present and the overexploitation of oceans. Altogether, they lead to social and public health issues. These 5 students are aware of all this and willing to act in order to leave a better world to children. Their project is centered on biological questions because they think that understanding the way marine biosphere reacts to plastic pollution is essential to predict and anticipate the future changes.
Their expedition is undertaken with a strong motivation, a true scientific rigor and a real will to make a difference. They don’t want assess the state of a marine world and think that it is already too late but they want to face the environmental issue and bring solutions to act against it.
The total budget of this project is 80,000 euros. Half will cover the full equipment of an offshore sailboat (energy, safety, etc.), as well as crew, scientific equipment, food for a 1 year expedition. This also includes administrative and insurance costs.
They already have half on their personal funds to buy a 33-foot boat in the summer 2017, which is rare, especially given their age. This demonstrates their determination to build a strong and innovative project. Nevertheless, as you can guess, the support of financial and material partners is essential. They are looking for motivated partners to accompany them in this project for the future. They will also launch participatory fundraising campaigns, so that everyone can contribute to the project.
They also invite marine biologists and marine pollution specialists to contact them by e-mail at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.