Marcus Eriksen is currently the Executive Director and co-founder of the 5 Gyres Institute. He received his Ph.D. in Science Education from University of Southern California in 2003, months before embarking on a 2000-mile, 5-month journey down the Mississippi River on a homemade raft. His experience on the river led to a career studying the ecological impacts of plastic marine pollution, which has included expeditions sailing 35,000 miles through all 5 subtropical gyres to discover new garbage patches of plastic pollution in the Southern Hemisphere.
Still rafting, his most recent adventure sent him and a colleague across the Pacific Ocean from California to Hawaii on JUNK, a homemade raft floating on 15,000 plastic bottles and a Cessina airplane fuselage as a cabin (junkraft.com). The journey, 2,600 miles in 88 days, brought attention to the work of the 5 Gyres Institute, the organization he co-founded with his wife Anna Cummins. Together, they co-founded 5 Gyres, which is committed to marine conservation through continued research, education and adventure, studying and lecturing about the plague of plastic waste in our watersheds and in the sea.
His first book, titled “My River Home” (Beacon Press, 2007) chronicled his Mississippi River experience paralleled with his tour as a Marine in the 1991 Gulf War. The experience of war, sailing across the gyres with diverse crews, and long rafting voyages, have led to a strong conservation ethic worth fighting for. “We must understand and define conservation as self-preservation – a rationale that crosses all boundaries between all people.”
Anna Cummins has over 10 years of experience in environmental non-profit work, education, writing, and campaign development. She has worked in marine conservation, coastal watershed management, sustainability education, and high school ecology instruction. Anna received her undergraduate in History from Stanford University, and her Masters in International Environmental Policy from the Monterey Institute for International Studies. In 2001, Anna received a fellowship from the Sustainable Communities Leadership Program, to work with Santa Cruz based non-profit Save Our Shores, coordinating bilingual outreach education and community relations.
In 2007 Anna joined the Algalita Marine Research Foundation as education adviser, conducting school outreach and giving public presentations on plastic marine pollution. With Algalita, Anna completed a month long, 4,000-mile research expedition studying plastic debris in the North Pacific Gyre, and a 2,000 mile cycling/speaking tour from Vancouver to Mexico, giving talks about plastic pollution. Anna and her husband Marcus Eriksen recently co-founded 5 Gyres, in collaboration with Algalita and Pangaea Explorations, to research and communicate plastic pollution in the worlds oceans. Anna was elected a National Fellow of the Explorers Club in 2010.
Stiv J. Wilson
Stiv J. Wilson serves as 5 Gyres Director of Communications and Campaigns, as well as the coordinator of corporate giving. His duties at 5 Gyres include, organizational strategic planning, campaign design and execution, grassroots organizing, marketing the 5 Gyres mission, and building strategic partnerships with environmentally sensitive corporations as well as like minded NGOs. Stiv has been with 5 Gyres since its first expedition, documenting and communicating The 5 Gyres mission to the public. A media entrepreneur and environmental journalist by training, Stiv writes for various publications on ocean issues and is a frequent contributor to The Surfer’s Journal. During his tenure at 5 Gyres he has lead and contributed to successful campaigns to mitigate plastic bag pollution in cities all over the country as well banning single-use plastic water bottles in Grand Canyon National Park. On behalf of 5 Gyres he consults on plastic bag, plastic bottle and extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation and speaks frequently around the world on his work at 5 Gyres. His interest in plastic marine pollution came from being an Oregon surfer concerned with the state of its beaches, a concern which lead him to seek out 5 Gyres founders, Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins. His first expedition with them in The North Atlantic, seeing for the first time the consequence of plastics in the environment, as it manifests at sea, was a watershed moment that compelled him to quit his journalism job and join 5 Gyres as its first employee. Since then, he’s now sailed over 20,000 nautical miles with the 5 Gyres team, to four of the five subtropical oceanic gyres. He’s a two time recipient of The Surfrider Foundation’s prestigious Wavemaker Award for Excellence in Environmental Activism and consults on the United Nations Environment Program’s Marine Litter Task Force. He’s an avid surfer and sailor and does laundry between trips in Portland, Oregon. He has a extremely cute dog named Porkchop who can actually duck-dive waves.
A Bay Area native and intrepid environmentalist, Leslie has been working in the nonprofit and community sectors for the last seven years. Through numerous independent travel experiences, service training and volunteering, Leslie has developed a deep-rooted enthusiasm for environmental advocacy both at home and abroad. Leslie was on the 5 Gyres research expedition to the North Atlantic Gyre in January and February of 2009, and will be researching plastic debris in the South Atlantic Ocean aboard the Sea Dragon in January and February of 2011. Leslie is dedicated to raising awareness in her community of waste-reduction, plastic pollution, sustainability and marine health; she currently works in development and public relations for the 5 Gyres Institute.
A native of the South Bay of Los Angeles, Michelle spent her summer days as a youth at the beach, where she first fell in love with the sea. But her real love for the ocean grew when she became a certified scuba diver and was absolutely amazed by the incredible world full of life and beauty beneath the surface. Prior to this experience, Michelle earned a bachelors degree from UCLA in Psychology and a masters degree in Sociology from Keio University, one of the top universities in Japan. She then started a promising career in Marketing and Advertising but became disenchanted by the industry and wanted to do more to help people and to preserve the environment. That’s when Michelle launched her own graphic design and marketing company and began looking for cool and amazing non-profits to work with and support. She feels honored to be a part of the 5 Gyres team, providing graphic design and marketing support to promote awareness and stimulate action to reduce plastic pollution in our beautiful oceans.
Board of Directors
David Green, President
David Green is a small business management consultant and serial entrepreneur focused on sales, marketing, distribution and project execution. David’s expertise covers a variety of industries – entertainment, non-profit, nutrition among others. David’s clients include several nutrition brands, a nonprofit committed to eradicating plastic pollution, and a sales enhancement company that targets Fortune 500 companies.
Inspired to learn more about the root causes of the social ills in Los Angeles, David became the Executive Director of L.A. Works, a nonprofit that coordinates hands on volunteer projects to engage the citizens of Los Angeles alongside charities and their recipients. During his tenure, David motivated thousands of volunteers each year to plant trees, paint homeless shelters, work with at-risk youth and serve the Los Angeles community.
Drawing on over twenty (20) years of experience, Lisa Kaas Boyle works with environmental, science and health organizations to produce educational programming and communications. In 2012, Boyle produced panels at The United Nations for her client Natural Resources Defense Council on (1) Using New Media to Communicate Environmental Messages and (2) Global Solutions to Plastic Pollution (moderated by Kyra Sedgwick.) Boyle worked with NRDC and other environmental nonprofits on communications surrounding The 2012 Rio Earth Summit, facilitating relationships with the press, writing articles, producing promotional media with celebrities, and serving as a link to the Brazilian media. In addition, Boyle spoke at the Rio Earth Summit at invitation of Voices of African Mothers on Impacts of Plastic Pollution on Women and Children and Legal Solutions. Boyle produced a panel for the 2012 Blue Ocean Film Festival, judged environmental media for 2012 Environmental Media Association Awards, and served as an educator on the inaugural LA River Rafting program after having reported about the revitalization of the LA River.
Boyle writes at Huffington Post on a wide range of issues including human rights, art, politics, education and the environment. Her blog “Occupy the Environment” was selected for the book The 99%: How the Occupy Wall Street Movement Is Changing America published by Alternet.
As the eldest of the three founding brothers, Wing co-founded Wahoo’s Fish Taco in 1988 and has more than 37 years of experience in the restaurant industry. Wing actively supports many national and local community-based events and non-profit organizations including Share Our Strength, Orangewood Children’s Foundation, Laurel’s House, Festival of Children, Pediatrics Cancer Research Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation , Muscular Dystrophy Association and Surfrider Foundation. Wing holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and a minor in Spanish from San Diego State University. He is also a part-time Adjunct Professor for Concordia and Chapman Universities’ MBA programs.
Patrick has over 30 years of experience and expertise in the creation, production and manufacture of music and entertainment packaging, along with associated merchandising and marketing components. As former owner/CEO of Color Service, Inc. he was an early promoter of printing traditional lithographic products with soy or vegetable base low VOC inks and consistently directed clients toward FSC certified or recycled paper package solutions and away from single use plastics. In his current position at Continental Colorcraft, Patrick continues to take the lead in providing environmentally conscious solutions for all of his entertainment and advertising industry clients. He is a keen advocate for environmental change, having been a long-time benefactor of Algalita Marine Research Foundation. 5 Gyres has received Patrick’s support from their inception. He has supplied their full range of printing needs: educational displays, flyers, guidebooks and postcards. “It is an honor and a privilege to be associated with this group of dedicated and forward thinking individuals.”
Peter was born in South Africa, raised and educated in England but began his career in advertising in the US, achieving positions such as CEO of J. Walter Thompson, West, President of Della Femina, McNamee, Los Angeles and Managing Partner of Bozell in Irvine, California. Peter ran companies with billings over $200mm, managing accounts in every category from automotive to package goods, financial services to entertainment, airlines to alcoholic beverages. Former clients include Isuzu, Taco Bell, 20th Century Fox, Transamerica, Singapore Airlines and Carl’s Jr. restaurants.
Peter subsequently ran his own agency, Rabuck Stranger, and it subsidiary, Current, specializing in marketing communications for socially responsible organizations. He then developed a new partnership, Kopald/Stranger, providing business development, applied strategic insight and communications for ethical organizations. In addition, Peter is currently Executive Director, Creative Services, at Wagstaff Worldwide, providing strategic, brand and executional solutions to the web, video, advertising and collateral needs of the organization’s PR clients.
Peter has consulted for the WILD Foundation, The Rocky Mountain Institute, The Forum For Education and Democracy, The Esalen Institute and The Green LA Coalition. He is on the advisory Board of Oceana, is a Trustee of the WILD Foundation and a director of 5 Gyres. He was formerly a Trustee of Pitzer College in Claremont, California, and served as a Director of the Los Angeles Opera where he was Chairman of the Marketing Committee. He is a Founding Director of CityLife Downtown Charter School in Los Angeles and a Founding Director of The Oaks School in Hollywood.
Elan Glasser is a filmmaker, musician and environmentalist. He grew up in Canada and has had a lifelong interest in environmental issues, beginning with wilderness experiences in Canada during his childhood. Elan graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Anthropology, which included attending a study abroad program in Tropical Biology taught in the rain forests of Costa Rica. Elan holds Masters degrees in both Biological Anthropology and Cinema from the University of Southern California, and is currently working on a documentary film project with 5 Gyres founders Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins. He has served on several non-profit boards of directors.
CEO & Founder, Citrus Studios, Inc. / Luxe Link / The Waxing Company
A native of Honolulu, Kalika Yap attended NYU where she found the everyday activity of life in New York – from subway and taxi rides to visits to the Union Square Farmer’s Market – exhilarating. A journalism major, Kalika worked for several media firms including Bloomberg and CNBC until 1996 when she uprooted herself again, and moved out west to Los Angeles.
Kalika, an early adopter of the world wide web, immersed herself in the still little understood internet. She quickly realized the vast global potential of the web, which she parlayed into a position at the Los Angeles Culture Net, a collaborative initiative project of the Getty Information Institute and California Culture Net. She developed web curriculum and web site design workshops for individual artists, art & educational institutions, and students K-12, all the while developing an affinity for the creative professional community.
While at the J. Paul Getty Trust, as a web developer, Kalika interacted directly with non-profit organizations during which time she discovered her true appreciation for non-profit, mission-driven work. As a result, to this day, she integrates the value-based culture of philanthropy within all her business units.
In 1999, Kalika founded Citrus Studios, Inc., an award-winning interactive design and consulting agency focused on the development and implementation of engaging and effective web sites for corporations, institutions, museums and universities. Citrus Studios counts the Annenberg Foundation, USC, UCLA, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles as some of their clients.
Kalika is the inventor and patent design owner of Luxe Link, a unique fashion accessory responsible for keeping thousands of women’s purses off the floor. Luxe Link has been featured on the Today’s Show and is available in over 70 International and US stores, as well as online.
During the pits of the 2009 recession, Kalika took a leap of faith and launched a new business – The Waxing Company; the first high-end waxing company to arrive in Honolulu. Kalika’s conservative projections of profitability were proven wrong when she turned a profit within 120 days of launch.
Despite owning three successful entrepreneurial endeavors, Kalika’s most treasured company is that of her family – her husband Rodney and their two daughters. Both Kalika’s work family and personal family are located in Santa Monica where she feels most at home.
2010 NAWBO LA “Rising Star” Awardee
2011 Farmers® Insurance Extraordinary Entrepreneur Trailblazer Award
2011 Citrus Studios was voted “Tech Firm of the Year” by the Asian Business Association
2013 Anti-Defamation League’s Deborah Award
Captain Charles Moore
Founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, Captain Charles Moore has logged over 100,000 miles of research voyages studying plastic marine pollution. He is the lead author of three scientific papers on plastic particulate pollution published in Marine Pollution Bulletin and Environmental Research, and is a world-renowned investigator in this field. His voyages to the Eastern Garbage Patch of the North Pacific Gyre have been featured in US News & World Report, Natural History, The New York Times, Discover, the CBS evening news with Dan Rather, The Osgood File, NBC’s Nightline, NPR’s “All Things Considered”, and Rolling Stone Magazine. He recently completed the longest research voyage ever taken through the gyre, a 7,000 mile journey from Los Angeles past the International Date line and back to Hawaii – 7 weeks at sea.
Bill McKibben is an American environmentalist and writer who frequently writes about global warming and alternative energy and advocates for more localized economies. In 2010 the Boston Globe called him “probably the nation’s leading environmentalist” and Time magazine described him as “the world’s best green journalist. In 2009 he led the organization of 350.org, which coordinated what Foreign Policy magazine called “the largest ever global coordinated rally of any kind,” with 5,200 simultaneous demonstrations in 181 countries. The magazine named him to its inaugural list of the 100 most important global thinkers, and MSN named him one of the dozen most influential men of 2009.
Bill is a frequent contributor to various magazines including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Orion Magazine, Mother Jones, The New York Review of Books, Granta, Rolling Stone, and Outside. He is also a board member and contributor to Grist Magazine. Bill has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships, and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing in 2000. He has honorary degrees from Green Mountain College, Unity College, Lebanon Valley College and Sterling College.
Chelsea Rochman is a PhD student with the University of California, Davis and San Diego State University, studying the trophic effects of persistent organic contaminants’ adsorption to plastic debris in the marine environment. Her current fieldwork explores contaminant adsorption to plastics around San Diego County as well as in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, where she is a part of the science crew of the SEAPLEX cruise with Scripps Institution of Oceanography. This fall, Chelsea will journey across the South Atlantic with 5 Gyres to explore similar toxicological questions. Her ultimate career is dedicated to developing a better understanding of marine debris to inform science, policy and the public through outreach and communications.
Dr. Sam Mason
Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason graduated cum laude from the University of Texas at Austin before completing her PhD in Chemistry at the University of Montana as a NASA Earth System Science scholar. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. In addition to her primary academic role she serves as the coordinator of the Environmental Sciences program and the Sustainability Coordinator for the FACE Center.
As one of the founding members of Fredonia’s Sustainability Committee, she initiated “Earth Week” in 2008 as a series of campus and community events meant to highlight and heighten awareness about the plethora of environmental issues facing our world. In addition to her academic responsibilities, Dr. Mason serves pro bono as an Air Pollution expert for a number of citizen action groups including Keep Erie’s Environment Protected (KEEP) and the Crawford Area Residents for the Environment (CARE). Her teaching responsibilities include courses in Environmental Chemistry, Consumer Chemistry, Physical Chemistry and seminar courses for the Environmental Sciences program.