News Treehugger Voices Answer a Trivia Question, Help Save the Ocean Every time you play FTO's daily trivia game, a piece of plastic is removed from the ocean. By Mimi Ausland Mimi Ausland Writer University of Oregon Mimi Ausland is the founder of Free the Ocean, which uses daily online trivia questions to help fund ocean plastic cleanup efforts. Learn about our editorial process Updated October 1, 2020 09:59AM EDT Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive The ocean is a powerful force. It covers over 70% of the planet, with marine plants supplying up to 80% of our oxygen, and nearly half of the world depending on the ocean for their primary food source. We cannot afford to forget just how important it is to human survival … and yet, we do. We forget and we treat the ocean as a giant dumpster, allowing over 8 million tons of plastic waste to enter the sea every year, killing millions of marine animals and poisoning the ocean ecosystem. For a long time, most of us were unaware this was happening – that our plastic bottles, utensils, packaging, toothbrushes, etc., were ending up on the beaches and in the ocean that we love. I was unaware until I saw plastic pollution first hand on the California coast. Shortly after that moment, I was determined to create a way to give us all the opportunity to make a difference in what has quickly become an environmental crisis. I know people want to help – to make an impact, to believe that their actions make a difference, which I truly believe they do. The author at a beach in California. Mimi Ausland I decided to create FreetheOcean.com (FTO) to give anyone, anywhere the opportunity to make a difference with plastic pollution. By visiting the site and simply answering the daily trivia question, you fund the removal of a piece of plastic from the ocean and coastlines. Our advertisers and sponsors on the site fund our cause partner, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, the ones actually removing the plastic. It’s free and takes about 30-seconds to answer the trivia question, and right or wrong, you still fund the removal of plastic. Since launching in August of 2019, the FTO community has helped remove over 10 million pieces of plastic. People are playing from over 140 countries, coming together every day to be part of our community and be part of something positive. Giving back to the ocean that gives so much to us, is more important than ever and we’re so excited to be building a community of people who want to be part of the solution. We hope it’s a bright spot in your day, not another negative statistic or news piece. Removing plastic is the first part of our mission, the second is keeping it out. That’s where our online store comes in – we offer sustainable, plastic-free products to replace everyday items to help you change your behavior. Trying to go zero waste or plastic-free all at once can be difficult and frustrating. This is why we have curated a range of products to help you make it easier and hopefully more fun! Importantly, each product purchased helps fund the removal of 10 to 20 pieces of plastic from the ocean and coastlines, a win-win. I hope you head to FreetheOcean.com, answer the daily trivia question, and feel good knowing you’re part of a community that is helping us protect our ocean … which is always protecting us. Mimi Ausland began her career supporting causes at the age of 14 with a click-to-give website that has since gone on to donate over 27 million meals to homeless animals. In 2019, she founded the website FreetheOcean.com – a way for anyone, anywhere, to have an impact on the issue of plastic pollution. She currently lives in Venice, California.