Admirers of Jeanne Baret and Nellie Bly — among the first women to circumnavigate the world — might soon be able to follow in their footsteps. Emily Penn, a sailor who, in July, carried out scientific experiments on the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” is leading an expedition around the globe composed entirely of women. This all-female voyage and scientific research mission is aimed at raising awareness of the negative environmental and health impacts of single-use plastics and finding solutions to fight them. The group will sail through four of the five ocean gyres and the Arctic, exploring plastics and toxics in the water.
Penn, the founder of the all-female “eXXpedition,” said, “The plastic pollution challenge our ocean faces is a global one and it will take an inspired army of passionate, skilled, and experienced people to tackle it.” Her ultimate goal is to turn pollution awareness into real, tangible results. “I am feeling optimistic,” she said, “but we need to change that awareness into direct action.”
The trip will start and end in the United Kingdom, will last two years from October 2019, and be split into 30 separate legs with 10 sailors on each leg. If you don’t have any sailing experience, don’t worry. According to Penn, there’s a place for people of all backgrounds and skill sets. “We need designers, creatives, policy-makers. It’s a struggle to find someone who couldn’t play a role.”