Activist Runs Coast To Coast To Fight The Marine Plastic Pollution

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Ocean2Ocean: 22-year old activist runs from East Coast to West Coast to fight the marine plastic pollution

  • On July 26th, Sam Bencheghib, a 22-year old athlete, environmental activist, co-founder of Make a Change World and youth ambassador of Parley for the Oceans will be the first person to run across America to raise awareness about the plastic pollution crisis and the need to protect our oceans.
  • Sam will be running wearing adidas x Parley running shoes, made with Ocean Plastic®, a material made from up-cycled plastic waste collected from remote beaches and coastal communities.
  • Along the way, Sam will be engaging with schools, universities, local businesses and communities, calling on them to sign the Parley AIR pledge and initiate immediate action.
  • Make a Change World will be releasing a video series and posting it on their social media platform to educate a wider audience on the issue of marine plastic pollution.

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New York, July 25th, 2019. Plastic pollution is killing our oceans. Around 8 million metric tons of plastic waste enter the oceans annually. Plastic traces are found everywhere, in everything, posing a serious threat to the health of the oceans and humans. With every second breath coming from the oceans, we can no longer stand by and watch the destruction of our most precious resource. Behavioral change is necessary to solve this, especially when 80% of all plastic in the ocean comes from land-based pollution sources.

This is why this summer Sam Bencheghib is setting out on his biggest expedition yet: a six month-long journey to become the first person to run across America to raise awareness about the issue of plastic pollution and the need to act now.

Sam Bencheghib:

“In times of such environmental concern, we’re really on a countdown. I really believe that no idea is crazy enough and so I think that by running 3,000 miles, it’s definitely a crazy feat, but it’s a good metaphor to showcase the severity of the plastic problem in the ocean. It is also an incredible opportunity to engage with as many communities as possible to tell them about the effects of plastic.”

On July 26th, Sam will begin his Ocean2Ocean run, covering 3,000 miles and 13 U.S. states, from New York City to Los Angeles, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Along the way, Sam will engage with as many communities as possible to create awareness about the marine plastic pollution crisis and ignite a national conversation about what each one of us can do to make a change. Sam will be hosting educational presentations at town halls, schools and universities, organizing events such as zero-waste workshops, documentary screenings, street and city cleanups and run-alongs with running clubs and athlete organizations.

Satya Tripathi, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Head of UN Environment Programme New York Office:

“The Ocean2Ocean run shows how real change starts with spreading awareness and engaging with communities. In the run up to the UN SG's Climate Action Summit in September, I hope that Sam Bencheghib's 3,000 mile journey across the United States will raise awareness about the devastating impact of marine plastic pollution, spark conversations around the climate crisis and inspire young people to become true champions of the earth”.

Ocean2Ocean is a project by Make a Change World, in collaboration with Parley for the Oceans. Parley’s involvement falls under the framework of Ocean Uprise, the youth activist platform that was launched on World Oceans Day 2019 at

Cyrill Gutsch, Founder and CEO of Parley for the Oceans:

“Sam and his brother Gary have already proven with previous initiatives that the real superpower of change lies in courage and individual action. Everyone can change the world. Step by step. This new project is extremely exciting because it will be not only an awareness campaign, but a six-month long exploration. We need to include everyone in this conversation - fostering awareness and action to address these issues and drive solutions because they affect everyone, even those away from the coasts and major cities. This is an invitation to everyone who wants to rise up and have a role in the movement. For the Oceans.”

By running 20 miles a day, 6 days a week for 5 months, Sam wants to show that anyone can make a difference if they take the first step – whether that step is running across America, signing the Parley AIR pledge or starting their own project.

The Parley AIR Strategy addresses the fast-growing and global threat of marine plastic pollution based on the belief that plastic is a design failure, one that can only be solved if we reinvent the material itself. We all have a role to play in the solution.

  • AVOID plastic wherever possible
  • INTERCEPT plastic waste
  • REDESIGN the materials and thinking

Everyone will be able to follow Sam’s journey as he will be tracking his steps and mileage coverage using the new fitness app, StepChain.

Follow Sam’s journey on and

Social channels:




During this expedition, Sam and his siblings’ organization, Make a Change World, will also be producing a series of videos to document this journey and the people he will meet along the way. The content will feature portraits of sustainable initiatives as well as updates on his running adventures.

Additional Notes:

About Sam Bencheghib:

Sam Bencheghib is a 22-year-old athlete, environmental activist, co-founder of Make A Change World and Parley Ambassador. Previously, Sam has gone on three expeditions, one of which resulted in the Indonesian government acting to clean up the world’s most polluted waterways, the Citarum river. As an adventure enthusiast, Sam is now embarking on this arduous journey across America to show the importance of acting now.

Additional quotes from Sam on  marine plastic pollution:

“By crossing one of the world’s largest countries by foot on shoes made with upcycled plastic waste intercepted on remote islands and coastlines, I hope to inspire people to live more harmoniously with nature and protect the environment.”

“Even if someone is far from the ocean, their plastic consumption can still contribute to marine plastic pollution. That’s why by running across the U.S. and connecting two oceans can act as a great tool to educate people on the effects of plastic pollution and provide them with solutions and alternatives to single-use plastics.”

Run Kick-Off Event: 

Date: 26th July 2019

Time: 9:30am

Location: Wagner Park, just north of historic Battery Park


9:30am: Event start, gathering and media interviews.

10:00am: Speeches by

  • Sam Bencheghib
  • Make a Change co-founder Gary Bencheghib
  • Cyrill Gutsch, Founder and CEO of Parley for the Oceans
  • Satya S. Tripathi, UN Assistant Secretary-General; Head of New York Office, UNEP and Secretary, UN Environment Management Group
  • Joshua Bevacqua, StepChain

11:00am: Ocean2Ocean official launch. Sam runs with crowd of ~100 people following him for up to 10 miles along the Hudson River running path.

12:45pm: Sam crosses GW bridge into NJ and begins his 160-day adventure across America.

Expected main stop dates:

The itinerary will vary depending on Sam’s running progress, but the main city stops include:

  • Bethlehem, PA
  • Harrisburg, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Columbus, OH
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Terre Haute, IN
  • St. Louis, IL
  • Columbia, MO
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Topeka, KS
  • Denver, CO
  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • Pueblo, CO
  • Grand Canyon, AZ
  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • Joshua Tree, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA

About Make A Change World:

Make A Change World is a media outlet and environmental organization that uncovers uplifting and inspirational stories on a mission to do good. We believe that no idea is too crazy since we are running out of time. Therefore through our clean up campaigns, world-first expeditions and impact driven videos, we are here to share the stories worth listening to and give a voice to the underrepresented. Since starting Make a Change World, our work has been seen by 500+ million people.

About Parley for the Oceans:

Parley for the Oceans is the global network where creators, thinkers and leaders from the creative industries, brands, governments and environmental groups come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of the oceans and collaborate on projects that can end their destruction. The organization has formed alliances with major corporations including adidas, Anheuser Busch InBev (Corona), American Express; the United Nations; the Maldives and collaborators spanning the worlds of science, art, fashion, design, entertainment, sports, and space and ocean exploration. To know more:

About Stepchain

Like many other health and fitness applications, StepChain counts users’ steps but most importantly, rewards users based on the data extracted from the pedometer and phone accelerometer that match users’ steps. Thanks to the app, steps can be exchanged for goods and services from fitness and sport industry with specific discounts and can also be used to make charitable donations.

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