Parley is an ongoing series of events where creators, thinkers and leaders come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of our oceans and to collaborate on projects that conserve and protect them.

PARLEY for the oceans addresses major threats towards our oceans, the most important eco system of our planet. we believe the power for change lies in the hands of the consumer, given he has a choice – and to shape this new consumer mindset is in the hands of the creative industries.

Artists, musicians, designers, actors, directors, writers, coders, architects, inventors, and scientists have the tools to mold the reality we live in, to develop alternative business models and ecologically smart products which give consumers an everyday option to live in balance with the planet.

To succeed, we need to synchronize the economic system of mankind with the ecosystem of nature. and make it more lucrative to protect the oceans than to destroy them.

PARLEY is designed to accelerate a process of change that is already in progress. no other big movement has developed faster than the environmental cause. we want to make sure, we are fast enough to meet the ultimate deadline and turn the ship around before we lose a treasure, which we have just started to explore and still don’t really understand: the fantastic blue universe beneath us. the oceans.

“If the oceans die, we die.”
– Captain Paul Watson

“We need to defend diversity on land and in the sea and we need solutions and these solutions can only be realized by harnessing the imaginative side of human culture – the arts.”

Millions of sharks end up in prestigious restaurant tables as shark fin soup, whale sanctuaries get looted for new beer brands or exclusive dog food. more fish get eaten by house cats than by seals while hundred of miles of drift nets vacuum clean the sea. Anything wrong with that? After all, there are plenty of fish in the sea and the supermarkets are stacked, right?

Not for long, if we believe the scientists. 2048 seems to be the overall accepted deadline for the collapse of all commercial fisheries, already by 2025 all the coral reef ecosystems in the world will be gone. Leading environ- mentalists already see the end of most sea life happening in 6–16 years.

Diminishment of bio-diversity in our Ocean is the single greatest threat to the survival of humanity. With dimin- ishment of species in our oceans comes diminishment of the quality of life for humanity. What are the causes of this continuing mass extinction and imminent threat to our collective survival? Human over-population and over consumption of resources are the primary threats and they bring chemical, oil, noise and plastic pollution with it. Global warming, oceanic acidification, over-fishing, agricultural run-off.


Everything starts with inspiration. Therefore every Parley is a curated gathering with a dedicated topic, presented by Parley Speakers to a carefully selected audience. The talks are meant to give an over- view over the State of the Oceans in general, to present a specific cause and to get the support for a related initiative or project.

Once there is serious interest to support the cause and to start a collaboration or to join an already existing project or initiative, the Parley team will help to get the pro- cess going by developing an invid- ual idea or concept, connecting to potential partners, and moderating the collaboration process from idea to finalization of an agreement.

The signature on an agreement is the kick-off for the actual collab- oration process. The Parley team supports the collaborators by translating needs and ideas to each partner, managing expecations and keeping the partners on track with a realistic roadmap. It sounds sim- ple, but the success of a collabora- tion lays in its implementation.


A massive amount of plastic trash ends up in our oceans every year. The ocean currents have formed five gigan- tic slow moving whirlpools where the plastic collects, nicknamed Vortex.

Recent studies indicate that at least 40 million pounds of plastic has accumulated and is floating in the north pacific ocean alone. The majority of the plastic debris remains in the Vortexes, however a significant percentage of it washes onto our coastlines daily.


After sunlight photo-degrades the plastic into small pieces, aquatic life and sea birds mistake these fragments for food and ingest it. While its difficult to know exact figures, a 2012 report from WSPA indicates that between 57,000 and 135,000 whales are entangled by plastic marine debris every year in addition to the inestimable – but likely millions – of birds, turtles, fish and other species affected by plastic marine debris. New studies show that ingested plastic damages the internal organs of fish. This raises the question about the safety of our seafood.


The big Challenge is to retrieve the floating plastic out of the open sea. The majority of the plastic has broken down into small pieces 1/4” inch or smaller. The plastic trash is scattered over massive areas and is not easily visible or collected. The center of a Vortex where the plastic concentration is highest is constantly moving. It is difficult to collect the plastic without harming fish and other sea life. Only a minority of the plastic is on the surface, the majority sinks to the ocean floor. but a huge part of the plastic debris is washing up on beaches where it can be collected relatively easily and without complex technology by locally organized clean up organizations.

The first mission of Parley for the Oceans is to save as many animals as possible. Our network of beach clean-up organizations achieve this by removing the discarded plastic that’s washed up on shorelines. Once the plastic is back in the system, a dedicated recycling program keeps ocean plastic in use. The bigger chal- lenge is to create the technology to collect plastic from the open sea. A dedicated Parley research program is in place to monitor the different con- cepts and developments.

“I want to be plastic!” Andy Warhol’s phrase expresses a fascination for material that seems perfect. It never dies. It is sleek, comes in any color possible and looks stunning when brand new and meets specific usage requirements. That makes it very hard to replace with ecological alterna- tives. Parallel to the cleaning efforts, Parley is educating on the responsible use of disposable plastic and funds an r&d think tank to develop alterna- tive materials, filter systems and new recycling systems.

Today, a sexy product can be the most efficient advertising for a cause. It is the best proof of concept for a new technology and gives consumers who care the decision to do the right thing. Therefore the main communication tool of The Vortex Project are beauti- ful designed products, that are made in a new and more sustainable way and carry the story of ocean plastic pollution into the world. All products made with ocean plastic associated with The Vortex Project contribute to the funding of this initiative.


The Vortex Project is a program by non-for profit organization Parley for the Oceans, initated in collaboration with the material innovator bionic Yarn, and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The advisory board includes Plastic Pollution Coalition, Ocean Alliance, mare and Warner babcock Institute for Green Chemistry

Written by
Cyril Foiret

Bookmark this article

More from CULTURE Category