Interview with Bradley Mellis, Parley’s Ocean Uprise Youth Team Member
By Eve Mellis
Feb 11. 2021 Updated 10:02p.m. ET
Today I interviewed my brother, Bradley Mellis, who is currently a team member of Parley’s Ocean Uprise initiative. Parley is “the space where creators, thinkers, and leaders come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of our oceans and collaborate on projects that can end their destruction.” We discuss the impact individuals can make to reduce plastic waste, the importance of oceans, and what the programs are all about. Bradley offers tips on contributions you can make, and speaks about Parley collaborations to tell us why Parley and its initiatives are “Good.” Read his interview below to learn more.
E: “What is Parley and Ocean Uprise?”
B: “Parley is a global network of ocean collaborators that was created to preserve and restore beauty to the world’s oceans.” “Parley works with artists, photographers, ocean athletes, community members, fishermen, engineers, designers, to help solve this problem of plastic in the ocean.” “One of Parley’s notable initiatives is a collaboration with Adidas that uses plastic collected from oceans, in multiple countries across the world, to make clothing, sneakers, bags...pretty much any athletic apparel that Adidas would sell normally.” “The collaboration has a very specific focus and mission and they are strategic in how they want to use their proprietary technology.”
E: “So, you’ve told a bit about Parley, what’s Ocean Uprise?”
B: “Well Parley is this great, big worldwide network of creators, engineers, artists…, all that stuff! But, that only accounts for a certain amount of people in the world. And the fact of the matter is that the next generation of people are going to deal with the problem in the oceans-- the plastic problem in the oceans. Ocean Uprises solves this problem by offering itself as a youth version of this network. [Ocean Uprise] is taking in account what young people are doing, attempting to support them, and giving them a network to continue the mission that Parley is focused on, into the next generation.
E: “Wow! Before I head to our next question, can you give a few more examples of Parley initiatives, besides Ocean Uprise?”
B: “Parley’s website has a ton of information on their initiatives and projects… I believe they have a collaboration with Corona, American Express…”
E: “How can people help and contribute to the cause?”
B: “First, you can take the Parley ‘A.I.R. Pledge.’ The ‘A.I.R.’ strategy stands for ‘avoid, intercept, and redesign,’ and it’s pretty much a strategy of limiting individual plastic use. If you’re interested in helping and assisting our mission, you can become a Ocean Uprise collaborator. Ocean Uprise is a huge task that is being undertaken by a small team of youth--”
E: “--which you are-- right?!”
B: “Yeah-- Obviously there’s assistance from above from full time Parley employees, but it is meant to be run 'for youth, by youth.' A great way to help out is to fill out an application to join Ocean Uprise, and if there is an opportunity to collaborate we’ll reach out to you; and in whatever capacity you want to help… this can make a difference. But if you’re just interested in keeping up with what we’re doing, we have a WhatsApp group, and we also have virtual talks on the last Thursday of every month, where you can join in on the conversation and also gain some knowledge as well.” “...and one more thing- we are also going to be launching an Ocean Uprise educators group where we’re going to give people the knowledge and training to go into schools across the country and give a talk that is going to spread awareness, and propel the message of Ocean Uprise. So those are some ways you can help.”
E: “Okay, so just to sum that up… the smallest, but still beneficial contribution I can make is just staying involved in the organization and making personal efforts?”
B: “Take the [A.I.R.] pledge! (And stay true to it!)”
E: “Are there any social media platforms that we should follow to stay informed?”
E: “What are some of the biggest accomplishments of Parley or Ocean Uprise? You mentioned Adidas, you mentioned Corona and Amex, you mentioned Ocean Uprise, and other initiatives… Are there some people involved or collaborations that are notable to include?”
B: “Yeah I mean Ocean Uprise was launched this January, and so far we’ve held a virtual talk with Mike Coots. Mike Coots is a photographer, shark attack survivor/activist, and he’s also a surfer. His work is really amazing.” “I guess with Parley, it really depends how you look at it. The Adidas [collaboration] is really a monetary collaboration… it creates money for the Parley network to exist and for them to carry out their specific projects. But if you’re talking about an impact, you would be referencing the total amount of plastic they’ve removed from the ocean.” “Parley has ocean cleanups all around the country, and around the world, where they collect this plastic to be used for [Adidas’] products. So, that’s a measurable, physical, impact, but then you’re talking about the social impact; that is much more widespread because there are dozens of Parley ambassadors who help propel the message on social media. There are a few [of ambassadors that are] professional surfers, like Kai Lenny or Cliff Kapono-- and Karlie Kloss is also an ambassador.
E: “Lastly, is there anything else readers should know about you, your position, Parley, Ocean Uprise, oceans, marine life, waste…?”
B: “Yeah, I would just say that the oceans are extremely important to the survival of humans, and to the planet as a whole. Every second breath you take comes from the ocean. It’s extremely important that these places are protected… The oceans are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet. Especially when land animals face huge land changing events, (like deforestation etc.), the ocean is a place where a lot of that is preserved, but because of climate change, and because of plastic (among other things), that unfortunately, is being harmed. If I were to say how to get involved, it's pretty easy..., it's not hard-- well it is hard to reduce your plastic consumption,-- but you just have to be smart about it…”
E: “Can you give some tips on how to reduce plastic consumption? What are things that you’ve done?”
B: “I bring reusable utensils with me if I can, I try to ask “don’t give me that plastic utensil” if I’m at a restaurant or something…, I’ll carry around my water bottle… These small things make a difference.”
E: “What are the essentials that I should carry on my person to avoid a situation where I might be stuck with using plastic?”
B: “There are ways around it, it's pretty straightforward. For example, if you’re going to eat, there are utensil packs that you can carry around with you. If you’re going to the grocery store, you can use tote bags…, you can use a cardboard box! ...You can buy things that aren't packaged in plastic, there are ways to get around it, it takes a little bit more effort... Just know these small things are important, even if you don’t understand. ….I think everyone has a memory associated with going in the ocean, if they have been, and it’s the type of thing you want to help preserve.
Check out the Parley Website: https://www.parley.tv/#fortheoceans
Adidas X Parley https://www.adidas.com/us/parley
Take the pledge here: https://www.parley.tv/updates/2017/5/31/take-the-parley-air-pledge
Bamboo Travel Utensils Cutlery Set
E: “Is there anything else about you/your connection and why you got into this? Anything about yourself you want to include?”
B: “I always wanted to contribute to an environmental cause in some way. This opportunity came along and I couldn’t turn it down. It gave me a way to help make a difference.”
To learn more about Parley, and expand your knowledge about ocean destruction beyond this interview, head to https://www.parley.tv/#fortheoceans to learn more.