Meet Samantha

Hi, my name is Samantha Saverin

While many identify the environment as an object, I see our planet as a voiceless entity in need of representation. This belief has inspired my efforts to amplify the voices of all living organisms and ecosystems when it comes to environmental protection.

I have always loved the ocean. Growing up in St. Louis Missouri, my family would take us on road trips to visit Anna Maria Island in Florida and Hilton Head Island in the Carolinas. In my high school years, I participated in marine conservation work in the British Virgin Islands and Galapagos Islands. In undergrad, I was invited to work on a project studying coral bleaching and reef resilience in Hawaii. My fascination with the ocean, marine life, and conservation has continued to influence the way in which I approach environmental activism and has inspired my current pursuit of a career in environmental law.

When I was presented with the opportunity to create an honors thesis to complete my undergraduate degree in environmental studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, I knew immediately that I wanted to do something involving the correlation between water pollution and marine life.

This project quickly evolved into a study of microplastic pollution. Over the past decade, awareness of microplastic pollution as a global crisis has emerged. However, after reading just a few peer-reviewed papers, I realized there is an incredible amount of research and data pointing to the issue of microfiber pollution from domestic laundry as the largest source of microplastic pollution globally. While this fact was echoed in many other publications, with a quick internet search I found there are few efforts in existence today that are actively trying to reduce the flow of microfibers into the water system.

Microfibers have invaded our waterways due to the fast fashion industry and the proliferation of synthetic fabrics, which make up more than 60% of all fabric production globally. While these fabrics are made of plastic, a material designed to last forever, the method in which they are being designed and worn follows the single-use plastic mentality of wear it once, maybe twice, and then discard. This has led to microfiber pollution to be the largest form of microplastic pollution globally, impacting all waters whether they be fresh, frozen, or salt.

I was immediately attracted to this issue because I believe there is space for change in the fashion industry when it comes to improving environmental and ethical standards. We live in a closed system and the connections between fast fashion, fossil fuels, environmental injustice, and water pollution are all interconnected. This obviously complicates the issue, but also a positive change in one sector has the potential to cause a ripple effect.

After completing my research, I knew that I wanted to expand my honors thesis beyond graduation.

That is why I have created the Blue Standard, a campaign to put forward innovative solutions to microfiber pollution from a multi-scale approach. Through meaningful policy, grassroots inspired social campaign, and sustainability certification in the fashion industry, it is the goal of the Blue Standard to put an end to microfiber pollution and usher forward a revolution in the fashion industry.