After kayaking down the Citarum River in Indonesia and releasing our film, we convinced the Indonesian government to create a two-year plan to clean up the river.
This was the best result we could possibly hope for and we were incredibly thankful and exhilarated about the result of our expedition. After months of planning, not only did we reach over ten million views on our video, but we managed to have a direct impact.
There's a very gratifying feeling when you get output (view count), but it is so much more rewarding for yourself and for the sake of others to get outcome (a true impact after the fact).
After our Indonesian expedition ended and we flew back to America, we brainstormed future possibilities for projects and expeditions. We wanted to find find something that needed as much awareness and something that was newsworthy. It took us a while and at times we thought we would have to stick to individual character profiles.
But eventually, Gary and I read an article with the title, "Gowanus Canal is one of nation's dirtiest waterways." The Gowanus Canal was only ten blocks away from Gary's apartment, so we were absolutely stunned to read that. We couldn't believe one of the country's dirtiest rivers was right in his backyard.
Then we saw a video of a man who swam the Gowanus to raise awareness about it's polluted state.
And then we read an article about The Newtown Creek. Apparently, where America's second largest oil spill was recorded in the US.
After extensive research, we found that both the Gowanus Canal and the Newtown Creek were some of America's most toxic waterways. What shocked us the most was that there was barely any information online or any articles or news about either canals.
So we said, "Let's do it. Let's find a creative way to go down both canals and let's make that our second project."
We called it #BroCleanBKLN and we decided to Standup-Paddle down both canals.
We just completed both creeks this weekend and can't wait to release the video later this week!
We started off by paddling Newtown, which took us about two hours to complete. It was a sunny winter day and the water looked clean but smells of petroleum were still very prevalent.
We then took a boat over to the Gowanus Canal and paddled down the a green, sewer-like body of water filled with toxic chemicals and wastewater. Sediments at the bottom of the canal are ten feet deep and filled with toxins.
Although both canals are Superfund sites, cleanup efforts are still very in-existent. So our goal is to launch a web series of 8-12 microdocs to document our journey as well as some of the encounters that we made and will be making. We plan to interview individuals from the EPA and other people involved with the cleanup efforts.