“The beating heart of The SeaCleaners is our volunteers”: Romain Sorlin reviews 2021

December 5th was International Volunteer Day, the perfect opportunity for The SeaCleaners to thank the volunteers who work with us every day to protect the oceans. Together, we have already accomplished so much, and who better than Romain Sorlin, director of the volunteer hub, to tell us how far we have come? Romain, the floor is yours!

Romain Sorlin : ” 2021 was a great year for The SeaCleaners volunteers!
After a frustrating year in 2020 due to the global pandemic, the local volunteer teams have shown enthusiasm and motivation to help save the oceans.  More than ever, they are the beating heart of the organization.

In the areas where we were already present in 2020, the actions were numerous. For the newly created teams or the regions where The SeaCleaners was not yet established, it was a little more complex because of the difficulty to find each other, but things are on the right track.
We have multiplied by 6 the number of actions carried out by our volunteers! And the increase continues exponentially.

In 2017, The SeaCleaners was 2 field actions, led by our volunteers.

In 2018, it’s 20.

In 2019, it’s 30.

In 2020, it’s 50.

And in 2021, it’s 240 actions conducted throughout the territory!  

Big up to New Aquitaine and Brittany who alone have carried out 126 actions and have allowed us to act closer to the coastline. I salute them, their activism is a source of inspiration for all the teams!

Romain Sorlin

Concretely, our actions range from the training of other volunteers, to the presentation of the association’s actions, to the waste clean-ups, to the animation of workshops and awareness campaigns for all types of audiences. Our volunteers are not only spokespersons for the cause of the oceans, they also have a “Swiss Army knife” aspect that is truly the DNA of the association.

Because nothing is better than visible action on the ground to raise awareness and change the course of events, we are particularly proud to announce that The SeaCleaners’ volunteer teams have carried out a total of 106 collection and clean-up actions throughout France in 2021.

Two operations stood out for me this year. 

For the World Clean-Up Day, more than 500 volunteers throughout France joined the clean-up operations organized by the regional teams. The Parisian Team took over Montmartre with an amazing organization: routes, teams, and a spectacular arrival at the Sacré-Cœur.

I also remember a great moment of sport and a record collection: in honor of the Bordeaux-PSG football game, the Girondins de Bordeaux teamed up with The SeaCleaners and the city of Bordeaux to organize the CleanAction “United for the Planet”. 320 young people mobilized to collect 224kg of waste in 90 minutes!

Thanks to this mobilization, more than 9 tons of waste were collected this year and will not end up in the oceans. 

The World CleanUp Day, Paris (FR)
The Clean'Action, Bordeaux (FR)

Finally, the highlight of this year was the event village of the Transat Jacques Vabre. There were a lot of people and we had a great time! The climax was the big emotion that seized us when we all got together to wish ‘bon vent’ to our captain Yvan Bourgnon who was at the start of the race. It was really a great moment of sharing and friendship, which will remain in our memories.

Awareness was even raised through art thanks to the whale “la grande Cracra“, a magnificent structure filled with waste recovered during clean-ups, lent by LocoArt.

Our SeaCleaners and La Grande Cracra, Le Havre (FR)

The volunteering hub is still innovating: this year, Lou Massa, our French volunteer coordinator, has created free animation training for our volunteers.

We have also developed international volunteering since this year thanks to Nolwenn Brohan who joined us. Nolwenn is working hard to offer actions and assistance to all those who wish to join The SeaCleaners in the fight against plastic pollution around the world.

Lou Massa, Romain Sorlin & Yvan Bourgnon
Nolwenn Brohan

2021 was also a time of powerful human stories. We were all devastated when one of our volunteers had a heart attack. Thank you Mother Nature: Pascal came back to us in great shape, ready to help us on many projects in 2022, with his partner Françoise who makes “the best cakes in the world” according to Yvan Bourgnon.

The SeaCleaners is a big family. I like to say: “There for each other, with each other“. Yvan Bourgnon shares this seafaring spirit with us on a daily basis and it is at the heart of The SeaCleaners’ values.

A big THANK YOU to all the volunteers: the mission of the volunteer division is to allow each one to carry out the missions of the association in his or her area, and together we will continue to collect, raise awareness, and gather in 2022 to protect the oceans.”