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Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.

Carolina Sevilla

Carolina SevillaCarolina Sevilla is a former Consul at the Consulate of Costa Rica in New York City and former Ministerial Counselor - Security Council at the Costa Rican Mission to the United Nations.

Currently she is Director of Operations at BIONIC YARN and Founder of the 5minutebeachcleanup.

Carolina is a lawyer recycling plastic pulled from the ocean and on beaches, rivers and waterways to turn it into thread as well as for other uses.

She is the founder of 5minutebeachcleanup - an initiative focused on creating awareness of our responsibility to keep the oceans clean from rubbish.

She is an art lover who has painted for over 20 years and also writes prose. Her website at www.carolinasevilla.com is where she shares her favorite works of art and her inspirational prose.

This former lawyer in the Costa Rican Consular Mission, an artist and environmentalist completely shifted her life from a legal counselor in New York City to become an environmentalist living in a tree house in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica recovering plastic waste and transform it into fashion and art.

Carolina Sevilla"According to Environmental Health News, plastic has been found in the stomachs of species of whales, stingrays, sharks, seabirds and marine mammals causing their death."

"CSRIO Australia warned that by 2050, 99% of seabirds in the world will have ingested some type of plastic."

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California and is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. This floating mass of plastic is twice the size of Texas, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one.

In the Los Angeles area alone, ten metric tons of plastic fragments such as grocery bags, straws and soda bottles—are carried into the Pacific Ocean every day of the week.

Annually about 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide and more than one million bags are used every minute. For something that does not biodegrade - that's a horrendous amount of plastic. A plastic bag has an average "working life" of about 15 minutes.

According to the Container Recycling Institute there were 100.7 billion plastic beverage bottles sold in the U.S. in 2014, or 315 bottles per person. 57% of those beverage bottles were plastic water bottles - 57.3 billion sold in 2014. This is up from 3.8 billion plastic water bottles sold in 1996

The process of producing bottled water requires about 6 times as much water per bottle as ends up in the container. 14% of all litter comes from beverage containers. When caps and labels are considered, the number is higher - and remember that almost all the plastic in our oceans originate from land.

Carolina SevillaPlastic makes for approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean's surface, with around 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.

One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals die annually as a result of plastic in our oceans. How many grocery and convenience store shoppers consider that disposable plastic bags have a devastating impact on marine animals such as the whales, seals, sea birds and turtles. This happens every year after they become entangled in or by eating plastic bags.

44 percent of all seabird species, 22 percent of cetaceans, all sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic in or around their bodies.

"You likely recognize the spongy stuff that makes up your takeout coffee cup? But did you know that your coffee cup lid is probably the same type of plastic?"

"Expanded polystyrene foam - colloquially known as "Styrofoam" is basically polystyrene that's expanded with air. This type of plastic is made from styrene, which is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen in the near future by the National Toxicology Program back in 2011."

"Styrofoam will outlive each of us by at least 500 years - and it ends up in our oceans.

Many localities have already banned Styrofoam - it even looks like New York may soon take action and in Costa Rica there is a bill in the Congress. So, PLEASE bring your own cup when buying coffee or tea."

"Plastic straws are terrible for the oceans. Try to not use them or go buy yourself reusable ones. Next time you are at the beach take five minutes to pick up trash and you'll be amazed at just how much you can collect."

Carolina Sevilla"Things start to change when a community gets organized to protect the local environment and its natural resources without waiting for the government to organize it for them."

"Our oceans generate 70% of the oxygen in the air, and absorb much of its carbon dioxide. They are the driving force behind the climate, the weather and the chemistry of the planet.

These same oceans occupy over 2/3's of the earth's surface and provide a home for most of the living creatures on the planet."

"It is a sobering fact that our knowledge of the ocean is far less than the impact we ourselves have upon it.

But, it isn't too late to expand on our understanding of the world's oceans and to use that knowledge to effect positive changes."

"Begin now to look for new ways to reduce your carbon footprint on the planet. Eat less meat, or maybe even none.

Avoid disposable plastic products whenever possible. Walk or bicycle whenever possible instead of driving a car.

Fix that broken appliance or mend that item of clothing instead of tossing it in the bin and buying something new."

Carolina Sevilla"All these seem like small gestures, but can have an emmense effect in the long run."

"Donald Trump's presidential election represents a threat for the environment - a 'disaster for the planet' warn climate scientists.

Trump has already threatened to pull America out of the landmark Paris climate change accord, eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency, repeal environmental regulations, and cut climate funding."

At a pivotal moment when the planet’s nations have belatedly banded together to confront an existential threat, a political novice who calls global warming a Chinese-propagated myth is taking the helm of the world's foremost superpower."

"Environmentalists are already frightened at Trump’s presidential preparations. He has appointed Myron Ebell, director of a conservative thinktank, to oversee transition plans for the Environmental Protection Agency, which Trump has casually earmarked for abolition."

Ebell has said global warming is “nothing to worry about” and that the Clean Power Plan is illegal.

"Looking to the future, there are a few ways that we could limit the damage and we must be looking for these options now more than ever.

With the increasing consumption of single use packaging, the quantities of plastic entering the ocean have risen astronomically over the past 30 years.

Without the significant development of high-volume recovery and recycling infrastructure, particularly in coastal communities, "there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2048."

Former vice president Al Gore said lately:

"In that spirit, I hope that he will work with the overwhelming majority of us who believe that this climate crisis is the greatest threat we face as a nation."

Carolina SevillaBIONIC® is a call to action to clean up the environment and make the global community tougher, more united and more resilient.

Stronger Thread®. Greater Good — or #strongerthread — puts a name to the movement, bringing people together to strengthen communities and create a virtuous cycle for the earth.

The critical ingredient of BIONIC® is recovered plastic. Simply collecting this plastic waste is a tremendous task — but, like our materials, the work of collection is tied to public service and the greater good.

At BIONIC® the first step in the STRONGER THREAD® movement is its partnership with Waterkeeper® Alliance to recover plastic from coastal and marine environments.

As the name suggests, BIONIC® Yarn is a start-up that produces strength-optimised fibres from recycled ocean plastic.

The quality of the resulting yarn is so good that it is used by high-end retailers like Timberland and G-Star Raw as well as in fashion projects like ESA Couture in Orbit.

Bionic Yarn is really a combination of recycling and textile technologies. By taking recycled plastic and use it at the core of the yarn. Other textiles are then typically wrapped around the plastic, such as really high-quality cotton thread, to make denim.

The result is greater performance in terms of abrasion and tensile strength – typically a four-fold increase compared to traditional alternatives. This yarn can be designed to meet nearly any performance or aesthetic requirements a partner asks for.

Carolina SevillaThe result is a high-end product that also helps the environment in innovative ways. The plastic BIONIC® Yarn uses has been recycled from coastlines in Asia and Central America.

These are regions without recycling infrastructure and so plastic waste ends up on their shores. What BIONIC® Yarn has done is create a market for this waste and allow these communities to reap the benefit.

The plastic gets collected on the ground and sorted on the spot before being shipped to them. Every step of the collection process is fully certified – from the individual retrieving the debris to the shipping container transporting a batch of plastic.

By making people more mindful about how much plastic is thrown away, it is possible to get them to focus on all the synthetic waste that's been created and what to do with it.

It's another resource we can make use of – once the plastic is melted and extruded, it's no different from new plastic refined from oil. To that end, BIONIC® Yarn is also trying other products with injection molds such as plastic toys, packaging and even lotion bottles.

"Ocean trash is a serious pollution problem that affects the health of people, wildlife and local economies. Trash in the water and on the shore can kill marine animals, injure swimmers and beachgoers, and ensnare boat propellers."

Carolina Sevilla"The other day I woke up to the news that a whale washed up in Indonesia with 1000 pieces of plastic and I am terribly sad to see this happening in 2018 - The worst part, is that this is possibly just the beginning."

"How many whales, dolphins, birds and other marine creatures are dying because of this right now or will die in the coming years?"

"Grieving the whale, I sat down to write a documentary we want to release about plastic pollution soon."

"We want to make companies and governments and even people, accountable for all the mess we have created. We are ALL responsible for all the problems we have."

"If you have ideas on what we need to show in this campaign and documentary or if you have innovative solutions to the plastic waste problem, please contact me."

"Documentaries can change even nations, look at what the BBC did to the United Kingdom lately, after Blue Planet 2, thanks to Sir David Attenborough!!!"

Carolina SevillaChina is catching up with the rest of world and will curtail its consumption of single-use plastic. .

Non-degradable plastic bags will be banned in places such as supermarkets and shopping malls in major cities and in the country’s food delivery services by the end of this year, according to a plan released by the National Development and Reform Commission on Sunday.

The EU is the leader in solving the plastic crisis and has already passed a law to widely ban single-use plastic items in 2019, and many developing countries in Africa and Southeast Asia are also tracking the problem.

About 300 million tons of plastic waste is generated each year, and 60% of that has been dumped in either landfills or the natural environment, according to a United Nations report. Whether it ends up in the ocean, a river or on land, plastic’s durability and resistance to degradation make it nearly impossible to completely break down, causing it to persist for centuries.

A cigarette butt is made of 12,000 microfibers on average, containing up to 98% of plastic in the form of cellulose acetate. To prevent cigarette filters from burning, manufacturers coat them with several chemicals such as zinc, arsenic, lead, highly toxic for the environment. Moreover, once used, the filters contain nicotin and tar, equally dangerous.

Once in the water, the cigarette butts start degrading, and release their lethal cocktail. One cigarette butt can pollute up to 8 liters of seawater, causing the death of crustaceans and small fishes. It is crucial to find a solution to reduce the input of cigarette butts into the marine systems.

Carolina SevillaSungai Watch is the latest initiative from Gary and Sam Bencheghib, whose Make a Change platform promotes ocean plastic clean-up. Make a Change has partnered with German tech start-up Plastic Fischer to test floating trash booms for rivers and smaller trash blocks for streams on Bali's waterways.

This initiative uses technology and trash booms to clean up plastic from rivers before it reaches the oceans. They want the project to be implemented around the world.

"At the rate that we are destroying our planet, we believe that no idea is crazy enough to protect it," says Gary Bencheghib, who founded Make A Change with his brother Sam 10 years ago to help clean up the beaches on their home island of Bali.

Called Sungai Watch – from the Indonesian words for river watch – it's an online platform that uses GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping and artificial intelligence.

"We understand that cleaning up our waterways is not the optimal solution. The problem starts way before it reaches our rivers with the way plastic is consumed and how it is managed when no longer needed."

With very limited waste management infrastructures available throughout Indonesia, most of the plastic ends up in their waterways making its way to the ocean. Sungai Watch is about re-envisioning how we see rivers to turn them back into the pristine natural alleyways they once were.


Marina TestinoMarina Testino is not only a well-known model but a great activist who is always throwing huge, creative campaigns to bring awareness on plastic pollution.

Her latest campaign, WeSeaThrough, is a non-commercial awareness campaign that investigates the hidden causes and effects of micro plastics in our seas, but most importantly, is a search for solutions.

"After considering doing a campaign on sustainable swimwear I read several articles on microfibers (a type of micro plastics) and how they are consistently affecting our oceans. I learned that any synthetic garment sheds plastic every time one uses/washes it, and these microfibers end up in our seas. This is crazy considering that 60% of all world's clothes are made with synthetic fibers."

"These microfibers are particularly dangerous because they cannot be collected, plus give off and absorb insane amounts of chemicals. I started talking to various NGOs and foundations to learn more about this issue, and realized no one has actually a proper response or solution to tackle the problem."

"Nowadays, people are overloaded with information and facts - particularly regarding sustainable choices, and most of the time this is a bit overwhelming. Everyone seems to be telling everybody else what you cannot do, but they don't bring alternatives or solutions to the table."

"The aim behind of all my campaigns is to inform people about the problems in fun ways and as personal challenges, so people can engage and understand the problem with a creative, artistic twist."

"There's already so much negativity in today’s society, so reinventing the ways to focus on problems to actually address them I think works better and also makes it easier for people to get involved."

"On that basis, together with @danilo, a video artist, we wanted to create awareness so at least people would know. We obviously wanted to do this in a fun and catchy way so decided that as of today, the most sustainable solution was nudity."

"#WeSeaThrough is a campaign involving nudity as a way of protest, as a challenge for myself and other participants, but most importantly as way to start again and rethink how our daily routines (buying clothes or beauty products with micro plastics) affect the environment."

"How our massive consumerism has become a serious problem? We consume between 39,000 to 52,000 microplastic particles a year. Any plastic you use can find it’s way to the sea, if you see plastic on the beach, no matter how small, take a minute to pick it up. Clean up isn’t the only solution but it's a really important start."

.Carolina SevillaThe Clinton Foundation
Clinton Global Initiative and 5minutebeachcleanup.

Mau Cortes and Carolina Sevilla of the 5 Minute Beach Cleanup Foundation recenly attended meetings with the Clinton Global Initiative of the Clinton Foundation. Former US President Bill Clinton gave 5 MINUTE BEACH CLEANUP FOUNDATION a Commitment to Action for one of the 5 Minute Beach Cleanup Foundation's programs called Ocean HeroesⓇ. Mau and Carolina could not be more honored and happy for this achievement. www.clintonfoundation.org

The commitment is that by April 2020, the 5 Minute Beach Cleanup Foundation in partnership with Eco Schools Puerto Rico committed to educate 1,380 elementary students from 23 schools in Puerto Rico through the Ocean HeroesⓇ program. Ocean Heroes is a one-week course that includes five one-hour educational sessions to be delivered by teachers at schools in Puerto Rico. This commitment will be implemented by two 5MBCF staff and five Eco Schools instructors over the period of eight months (April 1st – November 30th, 2020).

To carry out this project, 5MBCF will work closely with Eco Schools Puerto Rico to identify 23 schools in their network and provide teachers with the necessary tools to educate their students on: (1) the importance of the oceans, and why humans depend on them (2) plastic pollution in the oceans, and (3) how each student can become an agent of change so that he or she can impact his or her family and their community.

Program training and materials, including five videos/multimedia teaching resources, will be provided to 46 Science and English teachers across the schools. During the initial recruitment and training, 5MBCF will adjust the program’s curriculum to meet the needs of specific areas and schools to ensure social and cultural alignment. To increase 5MBCF’s online presence, they will create a website for teachers to access teaching materials including media kits and videos for each educational session. At the end of this program, all students will receive an Ocean Heroes Program Certificate. In addition, 5MBCF will document the overall program results through an audiovisual sample that will be shared online.

As the consequences of the plastic pollution crisis deepens across communities and ecosystems, plastic production is only increasing, impacting humans, marine life, and the oceans.

Over an eight month period, the 5 Minute Beach Cleanup Foundation Ocean HeroesⓇ program will be implemented to educate and empower students to lead ocean conservation efforts in their communities, adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, and reduce their footprint. If you or your organization want to work with us and bring Ocean HeroesⓇ to your city, town or community, let them know via the email contact address on the linked page please.

Carolina Sevilla The links below are to Carolina's beach initiative, the bionic thread project and her social media pages. Please support her efforts and initiatives to clean up our beaches and waters, but be part of the solution by consuming much less plastics.

To see what you can do to become involved in the beach cleanups go to:


To read see more about Carolina you can visit her page here at:


Contact Carolina or visit her on Facebook at:





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Bonesetters Waiting Room

In the Bonesetter's Waiting Room:
Travels Through Indian Medicine

BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week India defies definition, and the story of medicine in India is similarly rich and complex: shaped by unique challenges and opportunities, uniting cutting-edge technological developments with ancient cultural traditions, fuelled by political changes which transformed the lives of millions and moulded by the energy of forceful individuals. Here, Aarathi Prasad investigates how Indian medicine came to be the way it is. Her travels will take her to bonesetter clinics in Jaipur and Hyderabad and the waiting-rooms of Bollywood's best plastic surgeons, and introduce her to traditional healers as well as the world-beating heart surgeon who is revolutionising treatment of the poor around the globe.

Like a Virgin

Exploring the Frontiers of Conception

Sexual evolution is a slippery business. Like all mammals, we humans seem to have been left no choice in the matter: even though it is costly, inefficient and dangerous, if we want to reproduce we simply have to have sex. Yet most human cultures tell the tale of a maiden who gives birth untouched by a man; and in the wild there are plenty of creatures – such as turkeys, komodo dragons, sharks and the ˜Jesus Christ lizard" (which walks on water, too) that take various approaches to reproducing without sex.

In LIKE A VIRGIN, the biology writer Aarathi Prasad discusses how reproduction without sex is achieved in animals and explores why evolution has not made it an option for humans yet. In doing so, she provides a quirky, entertaining and perceptive overview of the mysteries of evolutionary biology, sex and reproduction - past, present and future.

It is a remarkable story that ranges across Greek mythology, natural history, agriculture, conservation and medicine; takes in some of the most exciting areas of developmental genetics and molecular biology that other popular science books largely ignore; and is packed full of a cast of amazing characters, be they obscure animals or eccentric scientists such as the respected geneticist Dr Helen Spurway who in the UK in the 1950s unwittingly sparked a nationwide search for a virgin mother.

There is now a plethora of strategies being developed in reproductive medicine that could ultimately keep our species going in a world of embellished sex: the creation of artificial eggs and sperm from bone marrow, labs-on-chips on which eggs are fertilized, silicone wombs and artificial wombs (where fetuses can spend their full nine months), and even research to prepare us for reproduction in space. What's more, we are finally beginning to understand what genetic modifications are needed to allow for the creation of women who could have babies without having sex. Now that we have the competent hand of science in our lives, will girls still need men?

Publisher: Oneworld (UK/US)
Pub Date: 16 August 2012
Status: Draft manuscript
Length: 288 pages

All rights available excluding:
UK & Commonwealth, US, Arabic (Arab Scientific), Japan (East Press)

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Yabanci is a book by a Dutch woman who moved from Holland to Turkey to start a new life in a Turkish village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A great read for those who are considering a move abroad or have lived in a different culture. Available in English as an ebook or in Dutch in both print and popular ebook formats... take a look

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