In an exciting collaboration, our brand new Raleigh International UK Expedition joins forces with Till the Coast is Clear, to further a shared mission of creating positive change worldwide.
Till the Coast is Clear was set up by Raleigh Alumni Gary. He tackles plastic pollution from less accessible shorelines, using a special recyclable boat and a fleet of kayaks made of recycled fishing nets. With roots deeply entrenched in Raleigh International, Gary’s unwavering commitment to environmental conservation and community development has led him to establish a venture that blends his passion for adventure with purpose-driven action. We wanted to find out more about his story:
Can you share a bit about your Raleigh International journey? Where and when did you go, and what sort of projects did you do on your Expedition?
“I travelled to Chile in 2003 as an assistant sea kayak guide. It was an absolutely brilliant experience, I loved every minute of it, from the excitement of being somewhere new & remote to the camaraderie amongst the staff & venturers. We headed to the Chronos archipelago to paddle in the spectacular fjords, wild camping on a different beach every night was fantastic.”
How did Till the Coast is Clear come about? Did your Raleigh experience inspire you in any way?
“I set up Till the Coast is Clear in 2018, out of frustration & exasperation with the amount of plastic pollution I was seeing on the UK coastline. I handed in my notice, got a boat and started clearing up plastic. My decision to do this was directly informed by my experience with Raleigh. We witnessed first hand on Expedition the serious issues with plastic & other pollution that the aquaculture & commercial fisheries were causing. I understand that photos we took on the trip were sent to the Chilean government to alert them to the problem.”
What is Till the Coast is Clear all about? How did you become involved in environmental initiatives, particularly in ocean cleanup?
“We are all about making a difference in a really hands on and practical way. We identify where we can have a positive impact, and set out to do what we can to improve things. I feel most at home surrounded by nature. I instinctively feel a duty to protect it and to help others to connect and appreciate the value in the relationship too.
Like most people, I felt totally overwhelmed with the environmental & social issues that can consume us. I realised the only antidote was to actively get involved with trying to improve things. Plastic pollution is such a visible and relatively simple issue to tackle – just pick it up, scoop it up, suck it up, whatever it takes! The bigger issues are around stopping it at source and reducing our total reliance on it for convenience & inappropriate use.”
The launch of the Raleigh UK Expedition is extremely exciting, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with Till the Coast is Clear. What can volunteers expect from this Expedition, and what is the mission of this collaboration?
“I’m really excited too! Who would have thought that an Expedition 20 years ago would come full circle and that I would have the opportunity to help positively influence a new generation of adventurous young people with Raleigh?
It will be an action packed few days. We’ll be combining plastic pollution recovery and education with other elements of nature regeneration which we also now do. We will be combining kayaking & hiking to reach remote coastal locations! We will also do shoreline foraging, to experience why we should all be eating way more outrageously nutritious, tasty and abundant sea vegetables (a better name than seaweed I think!)”.