Ridding the ocean of plastic, one piece at a time

Gutsch To Deliver Water Views Keynote Address




Cyrill Gutsch. Independent/Courtesy Parley for the Oceans

Designer and creative entrepreneur Cyrill Gutsch will be the keynote speaker at The Independent’s Water Views Festival on June 2 at Guild Hall in East Hampton.

Gutsch is the founder of Parley for the Oceans, defined as a “space where creators, thinkers, and leaders come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of our oceans and collaborate on projects that can end their destruction.”

Parley was born when Gutsch met Captain Paul Watson, a co-founder of Greenpeace who convinced Gutsch to take on a new project: responding to the threats facing our oceans.

Public enemy number one in Gutsch’s mind is the estimated eight million metric tons of plastic that are dumped into the oceans every year. The Parley Ocean Plastic Program works to clean up, prevent, and draw attention to the problem and its devastating consequences for seabirds, marine life, and the human food chain.

Gutsch has developed a strategy that he calls the Parley AIR, built on three pillars of action: Avoid, Intercept, Redesign, in which the focus is placed on the reduction of overall plastic use; the reclaiming and recycling of marine plastic debris; the interception of plastic waste before it ends up in the ocean; and the ultimate vision of applying green chemistry to reinvent and replace current plastic with eco-innovative alternatives that do not harm the environment.

To that end, in 2015, the adidas Group became a founding member of Parley and the first to commit to its strategy. Together with adidas, Parley deployed and extended its programs focused on education and communication, research and development, direct impact, and eco-innovation, and developed Ocean Plastic, a catalyst material made from intercepted marine plastic waste to replace virgin plastic while raising awareness and funds for longer-term solutions.

Corona (AB-InBev) and American Express are among the names that have since adopted Parley AIR and have committed to creating change across their industries.

Gutsch was named 2017 Environmentalist of the Year by the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association for his work for the oceans. In 2018, Parley was named Environmental Organization of the Year at EARTHx, and Gutsch was honored with a Special Recognition Award for Innovation by the British Fashion Council at its annual awards gala.

He will be joined at Water Views by Edwina von Gal, founder of the Perfect Earth Project; Michael Ogden, the founder of Natural Systems International; Beth Rattner, the executive director of the Biomimicry Institute; and Dr. Aly Cohen, founder of the Smart Human.

There will also be a State of Our Waters Panel featuring Dorian Dale, the director of sustainability and chief recovery officer for Suffolk County; Dr. Christopher Gobler, the director of the New York State Center for Clean Water Technology, and Stuart Lowrie, director of sustainable water for the New York division of the Nature Conservancy.

The talks and presentations will begin at 10 AM with a family-friendly eco expo taking place from noon to 3 PM.

The event is open to the public and is free. Reservations are preferred, and can be made at waterviews@indyeastend.com.

sjkotz@indyeastend.com