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Make every day World Oceans Day

By Tasha Goldberg

Division perpetuates suffering. In today’s modern world, at this very moment, there is evidence of how injustice creates segregation, and how deeply the pain and suffering is as a result. There is healing and power in unity, in connection. The ocean is perhaps one of the most tangible ways to feel and touch how it is that every single person is connected.

There is one ocean, and one global family. World Ocean Day 2020 is an inclusive movement to rally together every single person in the world, to share and grow together in ways that we can continue to protect our precious source of life: the ocean. To the champions who are facing these global challenges and creating solutions, we celebrate you. You are Evidence of Hope!

Throughout history, the ocean has played a role in inspiring people. In addition to being a vital source of food and income, the ocean more than half of the world’s oxygen to the world, sustaining ALL life on earth. Rapid global industrialization poses a threat to the health of the ocean. Yet It is possible to look directly in the face of these challenges and create solutions, beautiful solutions.

The Evidence of Hope: The FlipFlopi short film introduces Ali Skanda, a master dhow builder from Lamu, Kenya. Ali is the son of nine generations of master woodworkers, part of a legacy of designing solutions. When faced with waves of plastic pollution, Ali courageously sought a solution. The FlipFlopi addresses immediate local needs, while simultaneously offering hope to every single person on the planet.

I first met Ali Skanda in 2016. We shared a bond: we both had a clear vision of what we wanted to bring to the world. He had begun to build the FlipFlopi and I was beginning to document what inspired me to begin creating the short film series Evidence of Hope. He welcomed me to his workshop and we spoke for hours about his idea to build a traditional Swahili dhow completely from plastic waste. When he spoke, his eyes danced with a beautiful light. He had chosen to take on this challenge because he knew he could make an impact.

Ali had faith that the legacy his family had bestowed on him would be his craft in life. He also had the courage to know that he could apply this craft in ways that have never been done before, embodying the truth that tradition incubates innovation. Over the years of knowing Ali, I have watched him grow his idea into a reality, moving from aspiration to action.

I returned to Lamu years later and was able to step on aboard the rainbow dhow that is the FlipFlopi. The dhow has sailed along the East African coast attracting with its beauty thousands of children, and hundreds of leaders from local governments, UN officials and even the President of Kenya. To each and every person that Ali has encountered, I am sure that he has shared with them the magic he shared with me, sparking in them not only admiration, but a genuine feeling of being an important part of this plastic revolution.

This world is vast and full of incredible examples of beauty, endurance, and innovation. Ali Skanda and the FlipFlopi family hold the spirit of World Ocean Day in their hearts every day; as a compass to deliver their vision to the world. The FlipFlopi is Evidence of Hope: the dhow is moving along the shores of friends new and old, sharing a message of hope that we can do something about plastic. The FlipFlopi has sailed the East African coast, and will soon set sail around the world, sharing how it is possible to address plastic pollution. Help the boat get afloat!

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