October 7, 2019

TRAVEL CHANGEMAKERS: Pete Ceglinski, CEO & Co-Founder Seabin Foundation

Words by Travel to change the world
Travel Changemakers

Pete Ceglinski is the CEO & Co-founder of Seabin Foundation, avid water lover and world traveller, on a mission to clean the oceans, one marina at a time.

Pete grew up in the Shire of Byron and has been around the ocean his entire life. He loves to surf, swim, free-dive and appreciate anything on, under or around the water.

It was 12 years of boatbuilding experience and background of product design that enabled Pete to merge his passion for the ocean and academic knowledge; to create the innovative Seabin, that collects discarded litter, oil, and microplastics, in various locations all over the world.

The Seabin Foundation started with a passion for positive change and the hard realisation that human over-consumption and waste mismanagement is destroying our oceans.

What was it that inspired you to set up the Seabin Foundation?

The main reason I set up the Foundation was that technology is not a solution to Marine pollution and cultural behaviour – it’s education.

After looking at Patagonia and their amazing for-profit/not-for-profit business model we figured we could do the same, just on a much smaller scale.

Since we started 4 years ago, we’ve undertaken a done number of for-profit activities and last year formalised the Seabin Foundation.

What concerns you about the long term impact of travel on people, animals, and the planet?

The impact of humans on this planet is of the utmost significance, whether it’s in the travel sector or outside of it.

My concerns are very simple; people with a short term vision for a healthy and sustainable planet. The people I have concerns about range from politicians, decision-makers, business people, celebrities and newsreaders to everyday regular citizens.

The only real positive about someone with short term vision is that they seem to have a short shelf life. Given that over 11 million people have marched for climate change this month, I think my concerns of short term vision will become less and less in the near future, as a new guard comes into play with sustainability and value of life as a high priority.

Do you think travel can change the world?

Yes, of course, though it simply depends on what the traveller wants from their experience.

Sometimes a traveller may not set out with a responsible travel objective, but by witnessing a developing countries lack of infrastructure or alternative ways of dealing with issues means they have a long-lasting effect on them.

I always took the quality of life in Australia for granted until I left and travelled around the world. I now fully appreciate how good we have things and that our ‘first world problems‘ are really not that disastrous compared to most other things that are happening on the planet.

Are you seeing positive change happening in responsible and sustainable travel?

Yes, we participated in an accelerator program by and got to meet with some amazing startups, providing purposeful experiences for travellers.

From jungle and animal conservation to a start-up in Peru that showcases traditional craftmanship, like bow or knife making for travellers. There will always be a market for traditional holidays to simply lie back and relax, but the emerging ‘experiences’ market is already the game-changer for everyone.

Is there a particular moment or milestone in your life, that changed your outlook on things and inspired you to want to make a change?

I always wanted to have a career where I could help others and not just myself.

It turned out to be the Seabin Project.

I found a project where I could use my design and engineering skills, be on the water, have the financial security to provide a house for my family, and also run not-for-profit programs that have a long-lasting legacy for a cleaner and more sustainable future.

What advice would you give to people wanting to travel more responsibly?

We are always going to have a negative carbon impact on whatever we do, whether it’s travel or just everyday life, but we can lessen that impact with some thoughtfulness.

Tick that $1 carbon offset option box when you purchase your flight, bring your own water bottle, purchase locally if you can, refuse that plastic straw in your hard-earned cocktail and even picking up that one little bit of rubbish on the street will make a difference to someone or something somewhere.

Find out more:

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 own impact by sharing your new-found knowledge. Share this link to a friend who you think would be interested or post it on your own social media.

Ultimately, it all comes down to staying curious, keeping yourself up-to-date and making yourself accountable for your actions on your travels.