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Saving the World, One Made-Up Word At a Time

The Plastiki crew is setting sail on a new adventure. Will it prove seaworthy?


Saving the world—or rather, trying to save the world—can be rather tedious and difficult and boring. It’s not so sexy or compelling to your average Joe or Jane. But when a charismatic, handsome, worldly (read: rich) individual puts his resources (and charisma and long flowing hair) to the task, people take notice. And if that person does something audacious, like build a boat out of plastic bottles and sail it from San Francisco to Sydney, well, it attracts attention.

The 12,500 bottles that went into the Plastiki, David de Rothschild’s boat that he and his crew took on said adventure, haven’t made the millions more plastic bottles (and other debris) disappear from the world’s numerous ocean gyres. But they made got a lot more people worrying about them. So in that respect—and in the respect that the boat and crew made the journey in tact—the Plastiki Expedition (which doubled as an advertizing campaign for Hewlett Packard) can be called successful.

Now, de Rothschild and his posse, collectively known as Adventure Ecology, are onto a new adventure. And they seem to be turning away from their adrenaline-fueled exploits, such as a their attempt (failed, due to thin ice) to traverse the Arctic Ocean from Russia to Canada via the North Pole or expedition to Ecuador to expose environmental degradation there. This new gig, called MYOO, was officially launched on January 10 (but it has already been germinating, through a prize-based business incubator called myoo create).

So, MYOO is the new Adventure Ecology. And its mission is described as responding to global environmental crises by using “new methods” that “harness the power of journalism, business, art and community.”

MYOO. Huh? Well, according to myoo create, it’s an amalgam of the words me and you. Maybe that didn’t test well, because MYOO (which, as I gather it, is the new parent of myoo create) is taken from the second syllable of the word community (as in, “Ku-MYOO-nity”). And I repeat: huh?

Cryptic, inconsistent naming aside, what MYOO is planning sounds interesting. Its first gig was a partnership with Levi’s in which it helped create a commercial—I mean, a public service announcement—about how Levi’s has a new finishing process that reduces water consumption, and about how if we all just washed our jeans less, we’d save even more water.

And on the face of it, harnessing the power of journalism (information) and business (money) and art (inspiration) and community (trusted communication) toward addressing environmental problems sounds awesome. But what I wonder is: what keeps MYOO from morphing into a public relations agency for bands seeking green messages?

Mary Catherine O'Connor
Mary Catherine O’Connor writes about the environment, adventure sports, and technology.

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