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He personally found the Green movement smug, pious and off-putting.They were always criticising people for eating meat, or driving cars, or not wearing hemp clothing. I’ve become a pessimistic optimist, or the other way around.‘I was anxious most of the time at sea,’ de Rothschild says.‘And I felt slightly removed from the essence of the adventure, because I was Skyping with journalists all the time, talking about what we were doing, as we were doing it.
‘Rather than lecture people, or tell them off, or make them depressed, we wanted to use the power of a great adventure story to get people thinking about plastics in a new way,’ de Rothschild says. It’s a magnet for media attention, which helps gets the message out. But it also gets him criticised as a rich dilettante who can’t be taken seriously.‘I guess I was hoping it would achieve more,’ he says. The oceans are still drowning in plastic.’ Before Plastiki, he was a full-blown optimist.