Parley celebrates the planet’s most important ecosystem with a week of collaboration, discussion and action

Photo by Benjamin Lozovsky

Photo by Benjamin Lozovsky


Every June 8th, Parley assembles leading voices from the global oceans movement to educate, inspire and ask: where next? More than just another day on the global calendar, World Oceans Day is an opportunity to reflect and refocus our energy – looking at where we’ve collectively succeeded and where we need to take the oceans movement in the year ahead.

This year, we mobilized the largest global cleanup in our history, with over 50 individual events taking place across the week around World Oceans Day – from a river cleanup in South Africa to mangrove cleanups in Australia to an underwater debris removal mission in Indonesia.

In New York, we launched an unprecedented number of new collaborations and gathered ocean scientists, activists and governments to check in on the state of our oceans and inspire lasting change.

As the sun set, thousands of runners took to the streets in Brooklyn as our adidas x Parley Run for the Oceans kicked off. Over the next week, 2.2 million runners joined the movement, raising funds for Parley Ocean School and a new youth activist platform. From Barcelona to New York, Paris to Palau – here are just a few highlights from our biggest week of ocean action so far. Head on over to Instagram and let us know how you spent the day.



World Oceans Day 2019 Highlights


We mobilized our Global Cleanup Network for a massive day of action

Since last World Oceans Day, the Parley Global Cleanup Network has grown exponentially, with involvement in 28 countries and counting. Canada, Spain and Seychelles recently joined the movement, and around the world our teams rallied for a week of action and cleanups in the run-up to World Oceans Day 2019.

In Chile, local creators, thinkers and leaders gathered for a unique three day event covering Parley’s AIR strategy, with Wednesday dedicated to AVOID, Thursday INTERCEPT and Friday REDESIGN. In Palau, volunteers cleaned up a beach on the island of Peleliu, while in Milan our teams of volunteers helped clear an urban canal. In Mexico, students from a secondary school in Holbox helped clean a beach in Isla Grande, an important nesting site for Hawksbill sea turtles now that the nesting season has began.

As June 8th dawned, the first of our cleanups got underway in Fiji. 24 events followed in Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Chile, Italy, Indonesia, Mexico, Palau, South Africa, Hawaii, Panama, the Seychelles, Spain and the Dominican Republic – creating a 24 hour wave of action across the planet. Our teams and volunteers worked across a range of habitats and terrain, from canals and rivers to islands, mangroves and even underwater using SCUBA gear. In all, Parley rallied over 1600 volunteers, with education and analysis an important part of each cleanup. Our teams are still sorting and processing the waste collected, but reports so far show teams recovered 18,000 pounds of debris and counting.


24 events on June 8 | 1600 volunteers | 18,000 pounds of debris intercepted


We welcomed old friends and new collaborators

Hosted at Vice Media’s green-roofed headquarters in Williamsburg, we welcomed an audience of all ages for a thought-provoking series of talks by some of the most legendary names in oceanography, marine mammal research and high seas activism.

After opening remarks, Parley founder Cyrill Gutsch explained the urgent need for action – with record amounts of marine plastic pollution entering our oceans, new links to climate change and worrying research into human health impacts highlighting the urgency of our mission.

Parley was founded after a 2012 meeting between Cyrill and Captain Paul Watson, Founder of Sea Shepherd, who next took the stage with an impassioned call to action for all the non-human creatures that make up our blue planet’s life support system.

Journalist and author Ian Urbina next previewed a film based on his series The Outlaw Ocean, which has been acquired by Netflix and Leonardo DiCaprio, and spoke about the challenges of policing the vast, ungoverned expanses of the planet’s oceans. Legendary whale researcher Dr. Roger Payne spoke about his work with whale song and called for renaissance of our bond with these incredible ocean dwellers

We celebrated some leading women in the Oceans movement

Fittingly for the 2019 global World Oceans Day theme of Gender and Oceans, we welcomed a strong panel of female speakers drawn from academia, the fashion world and government to discuss marine life, how plastic pollution is affecting our oceans and our health – and how we can reconnect people with the sea.


Dr. Sylvia Earle began with sobering look at the changes she has witnessed over her long career, of which over 7000 hours was spent underwater with the creatures that call the oceans home. Beyond simply Marine Protected Areas, "we need Marine Peace Areas" she urged.


Environmental health scientist Dr. Susan Shaw warned of the dangers of marine plastic pollution on human health, warning “We all need to be afraid, we're in a dangerous time now. It's not just the marine mammals that are at risk of going extinct, it's us."

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Her Excellency Ms Thilmeeza Hussain, Ambassador of the Maldives to the United States and the Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations, shared stories from her homeland and warned of the disaster we are facing. Working with Parley, the Maldives is positioned to become a leading nation in the movement and a proving ground for new ideas, technologies and conservation initiatives.

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Dr. Sarah-Jeanne Royer explained her research into how plastics break apart in the oceans, and her recent findings that plastics emit methane and other greenhouses gases as they degrade. “As plastic breaks down, more and more marine organisms are able to eat the pieces,” she told the audience. “This is not the only problem, because as plastic degrades it also starts emitting greenhouse gases and chemical toxins that get released into the water.”

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Anja Rubik spoke eloquently about the need to create a stronger emotional connection between the public and the oceans. "What happens next is in our hands," she said. "We have the ability to connect through storytelling – people connect to stories."


Carmen Danae Azor, Director of Parley Caribbean, introduced the recent In Praise of the Humpback collaboration between Parley and MIT and concluded the day with a six minute excerpt of humans and whales performing music together.


A special thank you to all our World Ocean Day speakers and collaborators

Carmen Danae Azor, Director of Parley Caribbean

Dr. Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer and Founder of Mission Blue

Her Excellency Ms Thilmeeza Hussain, Ambassador of the Maldives to the United States and the Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations

Dr. Roger Payne, Founder of Ocean Alliance

Dr. Sarah-Jeane Royer, Marine plastics scientist

Anja Rubik, Model and Activist

Dr. Susan Shaw, Environmental health scientist and Founder of the Shaw Institute

Ian Urbina, Author of The Outlaw Ocean

Captain Paul Watson, Founder of Sea Shepherd


Over 2.2 million people hit the streets to Run for the Oceans

As the sun began to set over the East River, the New York running community, adidas Runners NYC and thousands of others came together in Domino Park to limber up, check out the latest adidas X Parley gear and explore a series of interactive ocean installations, workshops and booths. We welcomed ocean activist Sam Bencheghib, who this summer will attempt the first-ever NYC to LA run in upcycled adidas x Parley shoes and Parley Ocean Squad members Ian Thorpe (five time Olympic gold medalist swimmer) and beach volleyball player Alix Klineman to talk about how sport has the power to create change.

Following the talks, over 2000 people hit the streets of Brooklyn for a fast-paced 5K run to kickstart this year’s Run for the Oceans. Over the week, 2.2 million people joined in and raised an incredible $1.5 million for Parley Ocean School initiatives to educate global youth on how to tackle the marine pollution problem, and help us launch a new youth activist platform.


2,208,355 runners | 12,628,848 km covered | $1.5 million raised

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We launched our new youth activist platform

On June 8th, Parley unveiled Ocean Uprise – a new youth activist platform designed to empower the rising generation of ocean, climate and Earth activists. Ocean Uprise is a platform for global youth to use their voice and make it heard. With forthcoming workshops and a summit in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, we aim to empower participants to spread the word and alter the course of history.


We unveiled Parley Artist Edition Ocean Bags at MoMA

Taking the oceans movement into the art and design world, we unveiled a new artist series of limited edition Parley Ocean Bags to support the movement, available exclusively on our online shop and at the MoMA Design Stores. Featured artists include long-time Parley partners like Julian Schnabel and Doug Aitken alongside new collaborators like Walton Ford, Jenny Holzer, Pipilotti Rist, Ed Ruscha and Rosemarie Trockel.

Beyond being made from Ocean Plastic® using roughly 5 plastic bottles intercepted from coastlines worldwide, each Artist Edition purchase funds the removal of 20lbs of marine plastic debris.


We started a hometown collaboration

Beginning this summer, a new alliance will bring our projects closer to home and spotlight the issue of marine plastic pollution in the urban ecosystem surrounding our headquarters, the cultural epicenter that is New York City.

In collaboration with the Foundation for New York’s Strongest, the official non-profit of the New York City Department of Sanitation, we will bring attention to the trash that ends up in the city’s waterways and empower New Yorkers to take action in support of the plastic bag ban. Together in a series of cleanups, we will remove litter from beaches and waterways across the boroughs. Some of the collected plastic items will then be cleaned, processed and transformed into Ocean Plastic®, which we’ll then use to make a special edition of our Parley Ocean Bag with the iconic logo ‘I LOVE NY’ to promote visits to beaches, parks, and other amazing attractions across New York State.

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We introduced a new insulated bottle collaboration with S’well

Plastic bottles pose a threat to the environment and human health. In a 2018 study, 93% of samples from popular bottled water brands were found to contain microplastics. To help solve this complex issue, S’well and Parley are coming together in a long-term partnership with a common strategic objective: minimize and avoid single-use plastic bottle consumption around the world.

“Today, plastic is everywhere,” says Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans. “You find it in snow and rain, it pollutes our air, our food and it intrudes our own bodies, poses a serious threat to human health. The ‘For the Oceans’ bottle edition is a symbol and flag for the Material Revolution we are driving, a battle shout to unite, to collaborate, to create a future that allows human life to exist on this magic blue planet.” 


We launched an innovative ‘Pay With Plastic’ program with Corona

To help get the oceans message out to a massive (and thirsty) audience, Corona and Parley teamed up to accept intercepted plastic as payment for beer during the week of World Oceans Day; with Corona giving up sales to protect our oceans from marine plastic pollution.

Hundreds of locations around the world are involved in the initiative, which includes recycling machines in key retailers and popular bars in Mexico, Brazil, Italy, Spain and Colombia. Corona and Parley for the Oceans, who have been working together since 2017, are not only ensuring the plastic received is upcycled and given a second life, but also taking the opportunity to incentivize participants to avoid plastic altogether with educational messaging on-site.

The “Pay With Plastic” program kicks off a full summer campaign from Corona and Parley dedicated to the cause, featuring new product packaging that gives even more consumers a way to be part of the solution. For every limited-edition pack purchased, Corona and Parley commit to cleaning one square meter of local beach.



With World Oceans Day as inspiration, Parley invites you to make every day a call to action for the oceans. Join the movement today and help protect the vast blue universe beneath the waves.