Our founder, Thomas van Thiel, has been a passionate sailor and his entire life. In 2014 he fulfilled a lifelong dream: crossing the ”The Pond” (Atlantic Ocean) on a sailing ship. When the crew was ten days out, with another ten ahead before they would reach land again, Thomas saw a plastic bottle floating by. This hit him hard; something man-made, that far from civilization. The confrontation was an eye-opener and from that moment he became aware of the fact that plastic pollution can be found anywhere on this planet. His beloved oceans were sick and he wanted to do something about it: in the beginning of 2016 his foundation ”By the Ocean we Unite” was born.
In the years that followed, we have done many different activities, visited many places, and have been able to build a large network. In 2021 it was time for more focus while maintaining our core values. We changed our name in The Ocean Movement Foundation and started with our new strategy. We focused on our core activities sailing and researching, in the fight against plastic pollution. We have found that this is best brought together during our (citizen science) sailing expeditions in the North Sea, Wadden Sea, and Baltic Sea. We take the expedition members on an adventure we investigate the plastic pollution problem in the waters where we sail, we connect groups of people by learning together about the causes and solutions to plastic pollution, and we experience beauty and power of nature. Thus, our expedition members become intrinsically motivated to tackle plastic pollution. Our main target groups are young people and businesses.
Our vision is a world where no plastic ends up in nature anymore. Where people experience our ocean in the most beautiful way without littering her. We can do this if we join forces and make an effort.