The 5 Gyres Institute

Week 49: The 5 Gyres Institute

5 Gyres empowers action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution through science, art, education, and adventure. 

So, first things first. A gyre is a “large-scale system of wind-driven surface currents in the ocean”. There is a large accumulation of plastic that form in the five subtropical gyres as a result of the diminished winds and currents. “Basically, plastic is trapped within these currents, taking at least 10 years to cycle back out—if it doesn’t first get eaten by marine life or sink to the bottom.”

Plastic was first introduced in the 1950s as a miraculous substance that was cheap, lightweight and could be thrown away after use. But we quickly realized that there is no “away.” Most plastic never really biodegrades—it remains in our environment for hundreds of years.

The The 5 Gyres Institute’s vision is a world free of plastic pollution. They are members of Break Free From Plastic, an “international group of NGOs that joined together in 2016 to fight plastic pollution, sharing the common values of environmental protection and social justice”, are founding members of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, “a global alliance of organizations, businesses, and thought leaders working toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impact on humans, animals, and the environment”, and are part of the Plastic Pollution Policy Project, “a collaborative group of non-profits focused on design change for global solutions”. In 2017 they received special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

This week was a huge education for me, and I am stepping up my game. I realize that I have the opportunity to be a lot more conscious of my plastic consumption moving forward.

We only have one earth, and each individual choice adds up. 

Cheers from my re-useable mug!

Happy Monday,


Project Healthy Children

Week 48: Project Healthy Children

This week, we are focusing on nutrients. Project Healthy Children’s mission is to end malnutrition in our lifetime.

PHC photo 1.jpg
There are over 2 billion people lacking access to vital nutrients.

These deficiencies can lead to maternal death, preventable blindness, and intellectual disability in children. PHC aims to solve this issue through food fortification, a common practice in developed countries. 

If you look at your milk, salt, or cereal, you will find that more often than not, it has been fortified with important nutrients. It is easy to take these added nutrients for granted, and they only cost about 10 cents per person per year, but many people in developing countries don’t get these benefits.

“PHC works with national governments and manufacturers to fortify staple foods with essential micronutrients such as iron, folic acid and iodine, protecting populations from debilitating conditions caused by malnutrition. PHC works with both large-scale and small-scale producers of staple food products in order to reach even the most vulnerable populations with essential micronutrients, at an average cost of 25 cents per person per year. Worldwide, PHC’s food fortification programs benefit more than 55 million people.” 

When researching organizations for GIVE52, I have learned a lot about measures of efectiveness. How can we know that these interventions are working? And how do we invest each dollar to do the most good? One measure is cost effectiveness.

“It’s more cost effective than vaccinations in preventing or fighting disease. Micronutrient deficiency materially compromises the immune system of over 40% of the children in the developing world. It increases their chances of dying from curable diseases like measles, malaria, and diarrhea by about 35%.” PHC’s initiatives are based on evidence from economic- and science-backed results. These studies are important and confirm that food fortification prevents harm.

Another thing that I admire is that part of PHC’s mission is to ensure that they do not become a permanent part of a country's food distribution and health systems. Instead of staying forever, they are working to make themselves obsolete by finding sustainable ways for the governments to continue successful programs without a permanent presence. 

The goal is to end malnutrition in our lifetime and, this week, I am happy we get to play a small part in that.
Have a terrific Monday!


Invisible People

Week 47: Invisible People

Hello! This week's GIVE52 organization is Invisible People.

Invisible People and Mark Horvath are on a mission to end homelessness. They use powerful videos, educational partnerships, and social media to share the “compelling, gritty, and unfiltered stories” of homeless people in the United States. 

It should not be unusual for any of us to be seen, acknowledged, heard, or helped. But for people used to being invisible, it can be a big, big deal.
— Mark Horvath

The video blog allows viewers to get to know an individual experiencing homelessness. People featured are mothers, children, people who have been laid off, veterans, and many others whose circumstances have forced them onto the streets. 

“Once on the street, people started to walk past him, ignoring him as if he didn’t exist… much like they do a piece of trash on the sidewalk. It’s not that people are bad, but if we make eye contact, or engage in conversation, then we have to admit they exist and that we might have a basic human need to care. But it’s so much easier to simply close our eyes and shield our hearts to their existence.”

This organization is dedicated to shed light on the realities of homelessness and on the people who feel invisible. They are dedicated to changing the way we think about people experiencing homelessness. 

Besides the incredible and gut-wrenching stories that I have learned from on the video blog, I also picked up another useful tidbit. Carry socks. I always feel that I want to do something when encountering people on the streets, and giving pairs of new warm socks was an idea I picked up from Mark. 

“Invisible People goes beyond the rhetoric, statistics, political debates, and limitations of social services to examine poverty in America via a medium that audiences of all ages can understand, and can’t ignore.”

No one should feel invisible.
It is up to us to have our eyes wide open.

Everyone has a story to tell, if only we asked.
Have a lovely week!