Raised in Southern Louisiana, Marcus Eriksen developed a fascination with nature as he collected snakes, turtles, and alligators, taking his first job at the Audubon Zoo. He joined the US Marine Corps, and became a combat veteran of the 1991 Gulf War. This experience led him to study evolutionary psychology, eventually earning a PhD in Science Education after studying how primitive motivations influence aesthetic choices about how we perceive the natural world. Even art and beauty are not free thoughts.
He also studied paleontology, the study of ancient life, amassing a collection of 5 tons of bones from several Late Cretaceous dinosaurs from expeditions to the badlands of Wyoming.
In 2003, Marcus delivered on a promise made in a desert foxhole to another Marine. He said, ‘If we survive this war, lets float down the Mississippi River.” He launched the Bottle Rocket alone in northern Minnesota, floating 2000 miles in 5 months on 232 plastic bottles to the Gulf of Mexico. A never ending trail of plastic pollution was a stark contradiction to the experience of living with raw nature. In 2004, he began studying plastic pollution. Upon meeting Anna Cummins in 2007, they built a raft called JUNK, with a third partner to help construct and sail the raft. They used 15,000 plastic bottles to float a Cessina airplane 2,600 miles from Los Angeles to Hawaii ( junkraft.com). Together, Marcus and Anna began 5 Gyres (5gyres.org) an organization dedicated to science, education and adventure, and sailed 25,000 miles into the 5 subtropical gyres to document the global distribution of plastic pollution. They share a life together, dig dinosaurs and sail each summer, have a daughter and a dream to build a science center someday.