“Every Positive Action (Regardless Of Size) Is A Step In The Right Direction.” — Tom Peacock-Nazil

The founder of Seven Clean Seas gave up a lucrative career in finance to focus on his mission to clean up the world’s oceans.

“Every Positive Action (Regardless Of Size) Is A Step In The Right Direction.” — Tom Peacock-Nazil
Tom Peacock-Nazil wears cotton-linen blend blazer, cotton-linen blend trousers, and silk shirt, all from Ermegildo Zegna XXX.

As a child, Peacock-Nazil dreamt about working in animal conservation but ended up studying business at university and subsequently worked in the finance industry. The North England native has spent the last two years cleaning beaches in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, UK and Brazil with Seven Clean Seas, an ocean clean-up social enterprise that aims to reduce marine plastic pollution and promote awareness around responsible plastic consumption.

“People start to realise the scale of the issue when they spend two hours immersed in it,” the 31-year-old lets on. “They often come to me after a session and say, ‘I’m never using styrofoam or plastic bottles again.’ It gives me a huge sense of pride every time!”

Why is doing good important

To be present and to live well on the earth we have now, and to encourage my friends and family to do the same, is at the very heart of why I started Seven Clean Seas.

In 2018, my wife Pamela and I visited the South Andaman Sea where we spent a day on a beautifully pristine beach. We returned the next day, only to find it completely covered in plastic that’d washed up overnight.

When we came home to Singapore, we wanted to show others how irresponsible plastic usage habits have damaged our oceans. So I started organising coastal clean-ups. Singapore is a very clean city but it’s surprising how much debris you can find on its beaches; largely due to our geographical location, we are a hotspot for ocean plastic from the region. During the south-west monsoon from June to September, for instance, the beach at East Coast Park is so dirty it needs to be cleaned twice a day.

Besides monthly coastal clean-ups, Seven Clean Seas also organises educational outreach activities like talks for the community. We also partner like-minded companies on our Ocean Plastic Offsetting programme, which enables them to offset their plastic usage. By getting the masses to adopt this concept, we believe

it can encourage companies to make available capital to further push plastic elimination from the natural environment and for plastic usage education.

Supporters can also purchase a Seven Clean Seas bracelet at our website, for which we will remove 1kg of ocean plastic as a thank-you gesture.

What makes you feel good?

Plastic pollution in the oceans is a gargantuan issue and making real, measurable change might take years. This reality sometimes creates negativity and self doubt, but it’s in these times that mindfulness and staying in the moment is very important. I remind myself that every positive action (regardless of size) is a step in the right direction; as long as we keep at it, we are getting closer to our final goal of plastic-free oceans.

In June last year, I decided to transition out of my finance career and do Seven Clean Seas full-time. I have a genuine passion for the work we do because I love the ocean and marine life, and I know that I can make a tangible, positive impact. Whenever I encounter challenges, I count all our little victories, such as how we have removed over 50,000kg of ocean plastic and how we have physically saved baby turtles or horseshoe crabs.

Self-love for me is about keeping my body healthy and always experiencing new things. That’s why I picked up skateboarding recently. I’m a board sports enthusiast but this is the toughest sport I’ve ever tried. I tore my MCL six months ago while doing it; fortunately, it healed just before my wedding in Rio de Janeiro. Injuries aside, the sense of achievement is addictive. We were just at it last night.

Your secret to looking good?

Cleaning beaches is extremely physical, so on clean-up days I can afford to skip my gym workout [laughs]. A session lasts about two hours and we can clean between 1,000kg and 3,000kg. We’ve found lots of strange items at the beach, including a human-sized pink panther plush toy and a construction vehicle tyre that required five or six men to carry. It was insane!

This is part of our series on men who have made doing good an integral part of their lives — and encourage others to do the same. For the full story, click here.

This story first appeared in the Apr 2020 issue of A Magazine.

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