In this series of articles, we’ll profile conservation organizations focused on ocean protection. Today we’re chatting with Emy Kane from Lonely Whale.
What does Lonely Whale do?
Lonely Whale is an award-winning incubator for courageous ideas that drive impactful change on behalf of our ocean. As a leading ocean-advocacy group, Lonely Whale has been prominent in the anti-plastic straw movement through campaigns such as Strawless in Seattle, #StopSucking, and the 2018 Ocean Heroes Bootcamp. The last one empowered 300 global youth to take action against single-use plastic straws.
At Lonely Whale, we are constantly challenging ourselves and our partners to innovate and drive market change in support of a healthy, plastic-free ocean. We believe that together we can drive more effective impact than if we choose to act alone.
To support that goal, Lonely Whale engages companies, NGOs, and social-impact entrepreneurs to rethink current business practices that minimize environmental impact. We empower the next generation of ocean advocates through education and action through their communities. We spark viral, global movements through smart and captivating content that transcends both demographics and geographies to create measurable impact.
How and why did it start?
Actor, filmmaker and U.N. Environment Goodwill Ambassador Adrian Grenier and producer Lucy Sumner founded Lonely Whale on the principle of radical collaboration. Lonely Whale gets its namesake from the touching story of an enigmatic whale that has spent its entire life in solitude calling out at a different frequency from other whales.
How many people are involved and what are their roles?
A dedicated team of three leads the organization: Dune Ives, executive director; Emma Riley, director of strategic partnerships; and Emy Kane, digital strategist. Co-founders Adrian Grenier and Lucy Sumner, as well as a steadfast advisory board, also support the team.
What are the main actions or areas of focus?
Lonely Whale seeks to create awareness on the global state of plastic pollution while also driving measurable impact around the reduction of single-use plastics through each of its core pillars: market-based solutions, vital education, and impact campaigns. We also ask the hard question: how do we solve this crisis at scale and on what timeline?
Lonely Whale’s campaigns include: Strawless in Seattle, #StopSucking, NextWave, Tick Tock, Strawless Ocean, Ocean Heroes Bootcamp, Clean Seas in affiliation with the U.N. Environment, #MakeASplash, “Cry Out” a 4D virtual-reality experience created with Dell and Catch the Wave.
Can you tell us more about the Ocean Heroes Bootcamp?
Ocean Heroes Bootcamp debuted in the summer of 2018. Designed for leaders between the ages 11-18, Ocean Heroes Bootcamp provided the scientific knowledge, campaign development tools, coaching, inspiration and support youth activists need to create change.
During the bootcamp, students created individual campaigns to reduce plastic pollution and the single-use plastic straw. The campaigns created during Ocean Heroes Bootcamp were delivered to world leaders at the 2018 G7 Summit in Canada via video conference.
Afterwards, participants were encouraged to use their new knowledge and tools to implement change in their own communities. Youth activists are still continuing their campaigns today. Ocean Heroes Bootcamp will take place again during the summer of 2019.
How can people help your organization?
The simplest way for people to get involved with Lonely Whale is by reducing their own plastic footprint. They can also create a local campaign For a Strawless Ocean. You may download the open-source toolkit here.