• • • Alison Teal — the Tarzan child and activist who has spent her life exploring and sharing her story from every corner of the world, shares with us her thoughts about humans, our connection with nature, and what we’re doing to the planet as a human race.

Aloha Alison! I hear your childhood was different from the average suburban upbringing. Can you tell us a bit more about that? Yes! I was sort of that Tarzan child raised around the world. My parents were photographers for companies like National Geographic and Patagonia. At two months old, they took me up to the highest peak in Southern Peru for my first family adventure. After that, life has just been

this whirlwind of exploration, living in the most remote and exotic corners of this wild planet, and growing up in a world that what may not seem normal to most, seemed normal to me. There was always a thin veil between reality and the supernatural. Whether we were going down the Amazon on dugout canoes looking for lost tribes or getting walked over by elephants in Thailand for good luck… There was just always a different type of existence. There is a lot of beauty in nature. And these remote locations that over the years I’ve now seen pretty much are covered in plastic pollution. So it’s been a kind of evolution of growing up in a very different life and being in this world.

When did you start filming plastic pollution around the world? I got a scholarship to go to USC film school. Then I wanted to take up the torch of adventure and filmmaking. Living a life of travel has never been glamorous or easy, but I’m doing everything I can to share the cut of the mystery and intrigue of all the places I grew up in. So I set off as more of an ‘Indiana Jones’ after I graduated to share the myths, mysteries, legends, and the stories, to keep these cultures passed on to our future generation. Then, of course, I couldn’t ignore all the plastics. So then I started filming the plastic. Then it just hit. Now I’m at a stage where I’ve been able to help change laws, and doing a lot to protect what I love and hopefully, inspire others to do the same.

Alison Teal Fierce Female - SLO active

I was starving and couldn’t find much sustenance because all I could find was plastic and it had labels from all over the world— China, Russia, UK. US, Indonesia…you name it.

From Naked on TV to Plastic Pollution Activist

When did you first become aware of how bad the issue of plastic pollution is? Well, when I was naked on TV…Hahaha! I was asked to be one of the first on Discovery Channel’s ‘Naked and Afraid’ shows, which has since then become the most watched, highest-rated shows in the history of Discovery. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with it, but basically, it’s the efforts of survival challenges.

It’s the most challenging, survival show in the history of TV. They put a man and a woman who have never met, in one of the harshest environments on Earth for almost a month with nothing. It’s very ‘Adam and Eve’. Pretty gnarly. I said no to it at first when I was first asked to do it. I had wanted to set out making a series that was more like Discovery for kids.

That’s why I’m always wearing pink and have a fun look. Then this came along and I’m like..”Hell no! I’m not gonna go naked on TV!”, and then after about a year of learning about it, I found it was a fascinating concept and a challenge that I wanted to take on and see if I could survive. You know, that would happen if everything disappeared and we had to work together to survive? When I was there on the island, in the middle of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, it was like 110-120 degree heat Fahrenheit, I was starving and I couldn’t find much sustenance because all I could find was plastic, and it had labels from all over the world… China, Russia, UK. US, Indonesia, you name it. And I was like, “This is weird” . After surviving the challenge (which is a whole nother story) I was thrown into a press

storm about surviving the show, and I was like “Oh wow!, I have a platform to make change”. So instead of answering their questions about us, you know, “did you sleep together?”, I was like “have you heard about our global plastic problem?”. Then I returned to Trash Island in the Maldives and was the first to go in and film and make a movie on it.

Because of that, now it’s something that’s getting it’s created… The instigation of it getting clean. It just kind of then became my mission. Since then, I have done things like paddled through the L.A. rivers and dived for the plastic bags. I did the film for Hawaii to help get toxic sunscreens banned… So yeah, I’m just using whatever platforms to bring awareness to this.

If you travel with purpose and you wake up every day with a purpose to have an impact, that's what creates happiness.

Seeing our Planet through a Wild Child’s Eyes, with Curiosity

What would you hope for the next generation of young people, who watch your videos or hear about you? What do you want them to learn or to take on board? I think that kids well, everyone wants to have fun and play and be happy and enjoy life. When you were young, don’t you look back at it thinking that anything was possible and the world was just a beautiful place and you’d go to the beach playing the waves all day, or go to the pool or wherever it was and there was always beautiful fun water. Water is essential in life. So, I think it’s important to protect waters, and it’s also important to have fun and keep spreading the message in a fun way. I think what I would want our future generations to do is to enjoy my films, enjoy the world, enjoy these magical places

because if you fall in love with something then you want to protect it. We are all going to die if the oceans dies. My aim is to educate through entertainment. I think that there’s a way to spread the word with a smile. If you travel with purpose and you wake up every day with a purpose to have an impact, that’s what creates happiness. So if everybody’s out there wanting to know how to adventure, to travel, or to save the world, everything you do does matter. If you’re kind to someone, or eating better food, treating the planet and your body better, it’s all part of the same respect system.

I love that. Everyone is a child. It’s in human nature, and that’s really the reason why we’re doing it. Yes, Because when you’re a little you don’t think about all the big problems in the world, you just have fun and you want to protect the turtles. As a kid, you’re like “Oh Mom it’s an animal”. If we have those same wide eyes with curiosity that could continue on, the world could be a more magical place.

There is magic out there, you just have to remember how to see it and protect it, so that it stays around you. It comes through nature. If we kill all that nature… I mean, how do you feel when you go dive in the ocean or take a walk in a forest? Everybody’s always like, “oh wow, that’s so special!”. We need it. It’s so invigorating. It helps me find my calling in life and helps me get back on track.

Every Minute is a Different Adventure

Where can we see you next? No more naked TV for me…Haha! I have just completed my first TED Talk, and…I don’t know the answers to all that sometimes, because every minute I’m on a different adventure. But on Instagram and YouTube — Alison’s Adventures, I’m always sharing travel advice, saving the world advice and opportunities. That’s kind of the best place to keep up. You know, month to month, I kind of go where the world calls, and where I’m needed, depending on the project.

I love Hawaii. I’m from Hawaii so I’m pretty excited to be home for a while. I grew up in a small fishing village here and I’ve seen what has happened to our reefs and our oceans first-hand. So, what I believe is a first-hand look. When I say I travel the world it’s not like I’m going to Tahiti to sip Pina Coladas. I’m usually taking a tiny canoe to a tiny boat to an underwater cave to get to some horrific looking landfill type of place to share what’s happening. And it’s a lot of hard work.

I just trust in what’s gonna come next. Because it’s a very unusual life, and sometimes I’m sitting there like, “Oh my God, what am I gonna do with myself?”, and then the next day, stuff comes my way. Things that need to be done. I’m so excited to be back home and celebrate the sun in Hawaii!

• • • No more words! We could just feel her true love for the planet from her positive energy, which has now passed on to us! Just like she said, it’s all in our nature to want to protect what we love! Can’t wait to absorb this beautiful energy again on her TED talk!

March 02, 2019 — Janaya Wilkins