Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register
An active youth defender of the planet's ocean
Born in California and raised in the coastal community of Manhattan Beach, Coda has adopted the Pacific Ocean as her very own backyard. Surfing, swimming, sailing, and serving as a summer Junior Lifeguard are all part of her active beach lifestyle. Growing up in today’s world of waste and pollution, intentionally diving in headfirst to rescue our beloved Ocean has become Coda's true calling.
At 5 years old, on a summer sojourn to Bali, Indonesia, Coda became a student of mindfulness and meditation. She deeply connected with the practice and the positive effect that is the result of taking time every day to check in with your mind, body, and spirit. One day at a remote beach, Coda and her family were shocked by the amount of trash and plastic in the ocean. That day, she began her personal journey into ocean activism and pledged never to use single-use plastic again.
Photo by Allie Bussjaeger
At 10 years old, Coda was the youngest participant at the inaugural Ocean Heroes Bootcamp in New Orleans. This experience is the life-impacting catalyst that launched her into ocean conservation. Her grateful heart was activated once more to defend and protect the ocean. She wrote her first campaign, Strawless School, to eliminate the use and disposal of single-use plastic straws in schools and throughout her community. Upon return to her beloved hometown, Coda began speaking at City Council meetings as a member of the Manhattan Beach Sustainability Youth Council and the Grades of Green Team about the dangers of single-use plastics, metallic balloons, and polystyrene food trays.
At 11 years old, Coda's efforts were honored by the Captain Planet Foundation, receiving the esteemed Young Hero for the Earth Award along with her fellow founding OHBC members and her mentor, Adrian Grenier. With this achievement in hand, she returned to the second Ocean Hero’s Bootcamp in Vancouver, BC, furthering her mentoring relationships, expanding her ocean knowledge, and sharpening her business skills. She applied these skills to form Sustainable School, whose mission is to stop the sale of single-use plastic bottles at schools and help replace them with eco & marine friendly alternatives like hydration stations.
At 12 years old, Coda was invited to attend the Young Entrepreneur’s Academy in Manhattan Beach. The rigorous 8-month program introduced her to business concepts and she decided to combine campaign and company, creating the Sustainable School Brand. Coda reached out to Aardvark Paper Straws, a founding sponsor of OHBC, and built a partnership to provide the most marine friendly paper straws available to restaurants and retailers, donating 50% of all paper straw profits to schools to install hydration stations!
Then, the world paused. The global pandemic affected every human on the planet and life as we know it drastically changed. Restaurants, retailers, and the beaches closed. School, classes, and meetings went virtual overnight. Events, gatherings, and Junior Lifeguard programs were all canceled. Coda looked inward and resumed daily meditation, choosing to grow through the uncertainty of so much change so fast. She calls these sessions Brain Breaks. When Ocean Hero Bootcamp announced that camp would be virtual, they invited Coda to collaborate with Goldie Hawn and Dr. Wallace J. Nichols to share her knowledge about the science of the brain with the 500 kids attending from over 40 countries in every time zone on Earth. The power of connection and solutions positively affected the next wave of Ocean Heroes as evident by the outpouring of gratitude from her tribe.
Today, Coda is sailing full speed ahead into the future of ocean activism, campaigning and conscious-minded business development determined more than ever to be a leader in the solution to save our sacred Ocean. And she’s just getting started…