Stephs Plastic Pollution Expedition

Have we ever had lunch together? Or grabbed a drink at a bar?...

If so, you've most definitely heard me say to the server.. "I'll have a water with lemon, no straw please!.. I'm trying to save the planet"

I say it every. single. time. And it usually leads to a confused facial expression or a conversation around plastic pollution. Through this simple act, I've learned that many people are actually on board with shifting to more conscious and intentional habits, but we still have SO much work to do! Think of allll the strawsss and plastic coffee cup lids alone that our world consumes every day-- visualize this. Now visualize where they go after their 10-20 min usage. And these items are just a tiny fraction of the mound that we ultimately produce and consume.

If you're like me, visualizing all that waste feels disheartening. I have definitely spent time being overwhelmed by this issue. Eventually my sulking gave way to this deep-in-my-bones feeling that I too need to get out and help make drastic changes to our societal habits. Taking action began with educating myself on issues around my own consumption. One organization that helped with this education was the 5gyres Institute, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that focuses on reducing plastic pollution.

They gave me a bunch of facts and tips, all of which propelled my unrelenting passion for sustainability and conservation of our planet and resources. Okay, just one example: in the U.S. we go through 500 million straws a DAY! Seriously guys, it's really bad. We need to hold ourselves accountable and figure out solutions.

Months back, I added myself to the waitlist for a Plastic Pollution Research Expedition with 5gyres + the Oceanic Society. This month, I received an email saying I was selected for the trip!!!!! ALL year, I have been hoping, wishing, and praying for an opportunity to get involved first-hand and here it is manifested into a 9-day schooner expedition in July to study microplastics and marine diversity amongst scientists, activists and the like (in the Coral Triangle from Komodo to Bali, Indonesia)!  My answer: "YES."

Please help me get to the Coral Triangle to pursue a lifelong passion for protecting our planet. This is not just a vacation to Bali. This will be daily work and research. This is also a major stepping stone to hopefully use my design background to help find plastic alternatives to our over-use with unavoidable product packaging (it's everywhere).

If this speaks to you and if you can, please drop a 20 and pretend you treated me to lunch or drop a 10  and pretend you bought me a cocktail to celebrate my recent milestone birthday of 30!
Anyways - since I was brought on from the waitlist and later than the rest of the crew, the costs need to be covered asap! Please help to get to my goal by APRIL!

If you're feeling extra generous ->>  consider you took me on a date and we went to a fancy dinner & a movie. We even splurged and got dessert! That's probably leaning towards a 50, 100, 200... But hey! When is the last time we went on a date?? Exactly. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity guys and we can not miss it! We're going on a pretend date and I'm going to study plastic pollution. Genuinely though, I hope we do have a real date soon cause I'd love to spend quality time and chat it up with each of you. Especially if you're still here reading this. <3 I appreciate your time.

Whether you are able to assist or not, I am endlessly appreciative of your continuous love and support! Here are 2 ways that you can still support without donating:

1. Share this with a friend who may be interested!
2. Pledge to go straw-free the next time you order a drink! You can even borrow my "I'm trying to save the planet" line :)

Please feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions, to share your ideas, or even to send piles of positive vibes. We're going to get there! It's not easy but it's worth it.

Endless gratitude,
Yours truly,

*Costs Breakdown:
Expedition (includes: room & board, scientific equipment, local flight to Komodo from Bali, airport transfers) - $5375

Roundtrip international airfare to Bali - $1100-1200

Additional costs not included in gofundme goal amount:
- accommodations sandwiching expedition
- snorkel gear
- wetsuit or rash guard/swim pants
- headlamp
- vaccinations

(photo credits:

  • Heather Box 
    • $100 
    • 41 mos
  • Lisa Abequa  
    • $50 
    • 41 mos
  • Luciano Family 
    • $10 
    • 42 mos
  • Dana Sharbonno 
    • $15 
    • 42 mos
  • Charles Malone 
    • $40 
    • 42 mos
See all


Stephanie Luciano 
Los Angeles, CA
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