If I were given $10,000 to invest in a project…

If I were given $10,000 to invest in a project that I am passionate about it would be a mission based on ocean conservation. I will admit, going through daily life, it is hard to avoid all kinds of plastic since plastic is so convenient. From my daily cup of coffee, to takeout, to makeup, and school supplies, plastics are everywhere. Before this past summer, when I went on a National Geographic Student Expedition to Belize and learned of plastics’ damaging affects on marine life, I frequently used plastic bags, water bottles, and straws. Since returning home, I have become extremely aware of the amount of plastic present in my environment and I try to find other resources. Now, I bring reusable water bottles to school and even use a metal straw, given to me in Belize, for my daily smoothies. Instead of using plastic grocery bags, my mom and I now use the reusable grocery bags, and when I can, I hold my recently purchased items in my hands rather than using a plastic bag. If I walk out of a store without a bag, people usually give me weird stares and wonder why I do not just put my items in a bag. These odd looks make me think of my time spent in Belize and ways I can work towards reducing the amount of plastics that end up in the ocean by raising public awareness.

Twenty percent of the plastics in the ocean come from ships and offshore platforms.

Twenty percent of the plastics in the ocean come from ships and offshore platforms. If I were given $10,000 to invest in a company, I would find a company that works to identify ways to reduce plastic contamination. I know that people tend to comingle their trash because of the element of convenience and this is especially true when living out at sea. I would spend a portion of the money to help create a machine that automatically separates trash into waste and plastic. This way, when necessary, people can still use plastics while working on ocean platforms or ships, but when they discard them into trash containers, the machine would automatically separate the trash to ensure it would not end up in the ocean. This machine would help to counteract the ongoing problem of sea life eating the plastic and dying. While snorkeling in Belize, during my student expedition, I witnessed the issue, firsthand, when I collected trash found in the ocean. By the end of the snorkel my water shoes were filled with trash, the majority of which was plastic. I even saw a dissected fish whose stomach was filled with plastic wrappers where the original labels were still visible.

I would use the remaining funds to publicize the product to all companies with offshore platforms or ships. Companies that use the ocean daily have a large incentive to keep the water clear of debris. I think that marine conservation, and specifically the reduction of plastics in the water, is an important issue to invest in because the ocean’s health is tied to our health.

Read a recent New York Post article that features Caroline and showcases the benefits of highlighting travels and personal passions in college application essays.

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