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The Start of Something New

Growing up on our family farm along the Chesapeake Bay has given me the freedom to explore nature and understand how inspiring yet fragile it is. I have grown up seeing the beauty of nature, but also seeing the problem of plastic pollution in our waterways and oceans first hand. The problem of plastic pollution in our oceans is one of the biggest threats to our environment, so my brother and I started a non profit, Save the Wave, to be part of the solution.

There is nothing as pure in this world as canoeing up the creek and watching a heron watching you, or seeing the breathtaking view over the marsh while hanging in a hammock blessed by the grip of age-old river birch trees. My love for the farm has taught me the importance of preserving nature. The more that humans pollute the earth, the more trapped we become in our own environment until eventually there will be no more space to live. Developments are forever changing the landscapes and ecosystems all around us. However, our farm is a safe haven. While our farm is in the rural countryside away from industry, the boundaries of our property are not immune to pollution. It always amazes me how so much trash still washes onto our beach, and will ultimately end up in the ocean

After seeing this issue first hand I started researching, and I learned that there are multiple areas of plastic pollution the size of Texas floating in our oceans and if something is not done soon, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. This is not the world I want for future generations. I realized I could be part of the solution. I have seen that art is a movement for social change in the world, so two years ago, my brother and I decided to address the issue of ocean pollution. We founded Save the Wave and we are the artists, environmentalists, and entrepreneurs behind this non-profit ocean-inspired clothing brand. Each shirt is designed with original ocean-inspired artwork, and we donate 40% of our profits and reinvest the rest in our company to keep it growing. To date, we have raised over $6,550 to benefit ocean clean up efforts to organizations like Oceana and Project Aware.

I have sold Save the Wave t shirts, stickers, and sweatshirts at my high school, St. Andrew’s, and at community events to spread environmental advocacy, while raising funds for ocean preservation. Every week I see people wearing Save the Wave t-shirts on campus, which warms my heart and brings attention to this serious problem, and starts meaningful conversations. After pitching Save the Wave to a Board of Entrepreneurs, we received a $3,500 grant to grow our product line and increase our advocacy and outreach. We have a growing following on social media and are working on e-commerce platforms to broaden our reach. We received a shout out from third-generation ocean preservationist Phillip Cousteau (grandson of famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau) about our Save the Wave shirts and our work to help clean up the oceans. We are planning to grow our Save the Wave product line to include reusable water bottles and tote bags to get the message out about reducing single-use plastics.

In the future, I want to do more than earn a paycheck: I want to make a difference in the world. The problem of plastic pollution in our oceans is a major issue facing us all, and I plan to be part of the generation that helps connect art, entrepreneurship, and environmentalism to aid in the solution. I can’t wait to see how far I can go in helping to fuel positive change.

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