Finn Maitland Seas No Plastic
Written By Erin Peck
When you grow up on a small island, it can be hard to think globally. Finn Maitland describes his childhood home of Bermuda as “a sanctuary surrounded by hundreds of miles of the most beautiful, blue ocean one can imagine”. By the time Finn was fourteen years old, he had already grown fiercely protective of those waters. That’s when his family brought him on a summer vacation to Bali, where he saw something that changed the direction of his life.
“There were mounds of plastic aligning the riverbanks, all of which would eventually end up in the ocean,” he recalls. “The beach where I went surfing was covered with trash. It was the first time I observed such blatant disregard for the ocean, and my interest in decreasing pollution was peaked”.
After returning from that trip to Bali, the image of a polluted beach impressing itself into his memory, Finn began to notice plastic pollution on his beloved Bermudian beaches.
“For the first time in my life I saw micro plastic floating along the surface of the water. The sight of all that pollution resonated in me”.
He was seventeen years old and embarking on a crusade against plastics in the oceans. Finn donned latex gloves and spent his summer vacation touring as many Bermudian beaches as he could, filling bag after bag of trash. He quickly realized that to make a lasting impact, he would need to multiply his efforts by engaging as many volunteers as possible. Two weeks later, Finn and fourteen of his teenaged friends had cleaned up over two hundred pounds of garbage off of Warwick Long Bay Beach.
“It was an incredible feeling to know I had created a team that actually made an impact”.
When Finn returned to his boarding school in Massachusetts, he knew he needed to continue the crusade. With the help of the environmental clean-up initiative, 4 Ocean, Finn organized a bus to Revere Beach in Boston where students spent the day picking up trash. Finn proudly named the group he had founded “Sea No Plastic”. Today, Sea No Plastic is a non-profit in development which would support an app that helps people organize beach cleanups by coordinating volunteers.
Now a freshman at Clemson University majoring in Economics and environmental science, Finn’s goal is to help the environment through a corporate medium, the most effective way, he believes, to make lasting impact.
Finn has water on his mind and is spending his time at college building a life for himself that can impact the oceans for generations.