July 18, 2019

TRAVEL CHANGEMAKERS: Carolina Sevilla, Founder of ‘5-minute beach clean up’

Words by Travel to change the world
ImpactTravel Changemakers

You can do a lot in 5-minutes. But what you decide to do depends on you. Will you be willing to spend 5-minutes picking up trash the next time you go to the beach?

In a previous lifetime, Carolina was a diplomat in New York before realising that her destiny lay back in her home of Costa Rica helping to clean the ocean and her local environment one piece of plastic at a time.

Today, Carolina lives the simple life in a small beach hut on the beach in Costa Rica, which itself she says was ‘a gift from nature’ thanks to being built from a large tree that was felled on the beach in a storm.

After becoming despondent around how little she could achieve on her own, she set up ‘5-minute beach clean up’ as a hashtag’ and profile on Instagram in a shout out to spike global interest and rally change.

What’s the challenge?

The crisis of worldwide plastic pollution is universal. Never in history has there been a bigger environmental issue with more awareness and such glaringly obvious facts around the topic for all to see.

While there are many positive initiatives now happening, the damage of the last 60 years since mass manufacturing of plastic began is so widespread that we are still only at the beginning of our diminishing chance to limit the long term damage to our planet and humanity.

What’s the solution?

Carolina founded the Instagram @5minutebeachcleanup as a straightforward challenge to everyone all over the world.

Would you sacrifice 5 minutes of your beach time to tossing rubbish?

On her feed, Carolina invites her growing number of followers to tag their own clean-up photos and then reposts participants.

To date, the feed has notched up 63k followers, inspired thousands to conduct their own 5-minute beach clean-ups and brought Carolina global media attention with numerous interviews and added exposure for the movement.

Carolina is now working with Bionic Yarn, BIONIC® a material engineering company supplying consumer and industrial markets with fully traceable, high-grade textiles made from recycled coastal and marine plastic.

Carolina believes that it’s the younger generation who can have the biggest impact because they have a different mindset and truly get it. For them, it’s plain common sense.

“I think that happiness is that feeling we all have when you are aware of something and you want to share it as well. This is what we call “Pura Vida” in Costa Rica (The pure life).”

Carolina Sevilla

What will the positive outcome be?

Although 5 minutes might not sound like long enough for much of a cleanup, every little bit counts. Which is, of course, the whole point.

When more people get involved, those same 5 minutes become hours, days, and even weeks. Imagine how much cleaning up can be achieved in that time if we shared the responsibility locally?

It’s a great opportunity to teach kids, family members, friends, colleagues, etc. about the importance of oceans, beaches, marine life, and how it relates to us.

How can you travel to change the world?

Congratulations! By reading this post and taking some of these insights on board, you’ve already made a difference.

Now you can easily create your impact by sharing your new-found knowledge with other friends who you think would also be interested.

Ultimately, responsible travel comes down to common sense – stay curious, keep yourself up-to-date with the challenges at hand and make yourself accountable for your actions on your travels.