By Anders Lorenzen
As you’re reading this, Lizzie Carr, a British environmentalist is paddling down New York’s iconic Hudson River to raise awareness about plastic pollution and climate change.
A dedicated environmentalist, paddleboarder and adventurer and founder of the Plastic Patrol initiative, a community-driven volunteer scheme helping to clean up inland waterways by paddleboard, Lizzie’s eight-day feat of endurance has an important environmental purpose – to highlight the issue of plastic pollution, ocean health and its role in climate change through a series of scientific sampling and community outreach initiatives, such as beach clean-up operations.
To cover the full length of the river, a 275 km (roughly 170 miles) from Albany, New York State, she will need to paddle roughly 40 km (24 miles) a day for a whole week, almost equivalent to a marathon a day. Her paddle board will carry 20 kg of equipment, including a tent and supplies.
Before she set off, I caught up with Lizzie to explore what motivated her to embark the challenge and why she has chosen the Hudson River to paddleboard down? (watch the full interview above).
Whilst in the UK especially, awareness on plastics issues has definitely increased since the screening of the BBC’s Blue Planet series, Lizzie feels people largely feel disempowered by facts and statistics, which is why she feels so passionately about seeing the impact plastic pollution is really having on our rivers, waterbeds and oceans. The US is one of the world’s largest consumers of single-use plastics she explained, hence her focus on the Hudson River.
Lizzie will be supporting scientific efforts during her journey, collecting water samples for microplastic analysis and also testing the latest Smartfin technology with sensors that measure multiple oceans and riverine parameters including temperature, location, and water motion characteristics, helping to create a baseline for understanding river trends and ocean warming indicators.
Her epic challenge started on the 6th of September and will culminate on the 15th September when she paddles through the city of New York and joins the APP World Tour to race to the final destination on her route – the iconic Statue of Liberty.
Lizzie feels passionately that community efforts and people driven initiatives like hers are at the heart of the change we need to see, as it helps us build an evidence base for accountability of perpetrating brands and bring about meaningful change.
She is determined to create a legacy that empowers individuals and communities to tackle plastic pollution head on and believe that their individual’s actions, no matter how small, make a difference.
If you’re local you can catch her at one of the below community cleanups:
• Sunday, September 9th, 3:30-5:30, Kaal Rock Park in Poughkeepsie
• Wednesday, September 12th, 5:30-7:00, Croton Point Park in Croton-on-the-Hudson
• Friday, September 14th, 5:30-6:30, Pier 26 Hudson River Park, NY