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400 mile OPD walk: Bryan Galvin’s journey

Annabelle Sikes, Online Editor

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Oceanic Plastic Discharge (OPD): At first glance, to any ordinary person, these three words seem to hold trivial meaning, while in reality they possess a hidden story with a significant moral. However, to Bryan Galvin, a local resident, 26-year-old surfer, lifeguard and avid OPD awareness member, these words mean so much more. In order to combat the rising issue of OPD, Bryan decided to plan a 400-mile back-packing walk in order to raise awareness.

OPD, commonly referred to as marine pollution, occurs when harmful, or potentially harmful, effects result from the entry into the ocean of chemicals, particles, industrial, agricultural and residential waste, noise or the spread of invasive inorganic material.

The United Nations Environment Program estimated in 2006, that every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. With the constantly advancing technology and increasing production rates, it can only be predicted that these numbers are peeking in today’s society. If that is not shocking enough, plastic debris causes the deaths of more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals.

“Being involved in the issues you feel strongly about are how movements of the political system happen. Another great idea would be to gather petition signatures for the abolishment of single use bags,” said AICE Environmental Management teacher, Mrs. Dublin.

Galvin’s experience began in his early life when he received his own surfboard at 16 years old and developed his passion for the ocean. He has also been a lifeguard for about five years and a lifeguard instructor for about two years.

“The beach has been a huge part of my life, so has the surf. Being out in the ocean in the surf feels like a whole different world where you can have a clear mind with no distractions,” said Galvin.

The walk will begin at Fernandina Beach, FL and stretch a total of 400 miles along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean to South Beach Miami, FL. The walk will take 20 days and will begin on April 17 and end on May 6. People from across Florida are invited to not only donate to the cause but participate in the walk by relieving their local beaches of OPD.

“During my journey, I will be picking up all OPD materials that cross my path. Along the way, I will be posting video blogs and journal entries, along with live video feeds that anyone will be able to access. I will also have my surfboard with me of course, surfing when and where I can,” said Galvin.

The live-video stream will be one of the most prominent factors of the walk, especially on day one. On day one of the journey, Bryan will be greeting each of his backers in his first live broadcast, as well as explaining the walk and where he intends to be on the broadcast. He also plans to report anything bizarre or out of the ordinary through a video or written blog and upload daily so that viewers can comment and share. It is predicted that two live broadcasts will occur each day, once during the walk so that people can tune in with him while he walks and another at the end of the day to update everyone on the journey thus far.

When asked about the purpose behind the walk, Galvin said, “I wish I could answer that question with to solve the problem, but it won’t. This walk is about examining and showing the world the symptom of OPD which is the result of irresponsible human activity. The purpose is to bring consciousness. Even immediate people around me do not fully grasp the impact that their daily purchases may have on the world.”

There are many ways that local residents can support the movement including accessing Kickstarter at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/660693281/plastic-awareness-beach-hike-eastern-florida-shore?ref=email. Bryan hopes to fully fund the journey on his own, which proves to be difficult in today’s economy. The support would go towards supplies for the journey including water, fuel, food and burlap bags. Bryan invites anyone that has the time to grab a burlap (no plastic bags) and become part of his journey as he passes through local beaches.

“Seeing somebody follow through on a position that they really feel passionately about is really inspiring and exciting to me,” said senior, Lenny Mecca. “I will definitely be tuning into some of the live-video streams to learn more about the issue and the walk.”

Rewards will also be distributed to people who donate and support the cause. Surfing lessons (private, semi-private and group) will be offered, three live open discussions through a live internet broadcast, stickers, pieces of OPD with specialized markings, sea glass and most importantly, respect of the ocean and the planet.

“We can all do our part by refusing irresponsible single use plastics. Most of the time I find that the most conscious products that are not only consciously produced but good for your body, usually have little to no single use plastic in their packaging. Take a look for yourself, you don’t have to take my word for it,” said Galvin.

 

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400 mile OPD walk: Bryan Galvin’s journey