What Matters to Captain JIM HOLM

April 9, 2012 |  by  |  What Matters

Captain Jim “Homer” Holm knows the ocean so thoroughly that he has devoted his life’s work to saving it. For over 30 years he’s worked in maritime trades on various sail and motor craft from grand prix racing sailboats to marine research vessels and every configuration in between. Through the years he developed marine education programs while crossing the Atlantic, numerous times the Pacific from CA to Hawaii and cruising in many other seas worldwide—all the while noting the growing problem with maritime pollution. What makes Homer a true visionary is taking his love of the ocean combined with his observations over the years and creating a project that stands to change the face of our planet-wide marine waste problem.

As Co-founder and Director of Operations for The Clean Oceans Project, Captain Holm is honing in on identifying and developing specific technologies that will play a key role in removing destructive plastic marine debris from the worlds oceans—and recycle it. Based in Santa Cruz, Homer is eager and passionate in chatting about the latest efforts at The Clean Oceans Project, but what you really get clear on in this interaction is that cleaning up our oceans WILL happen. Even with funding still needing to be in place to execute their mission, Homer is already there. After experiencing his warmth and easily likable yet articulate manner, you walk away at best knowing that he will eliminate the Garbage Patches of the planet, and at worst, taking careful inventory of you and your families personal plastic use.

While studying and sailing the oceans of the world, What has Mattered the most to Captain Holm?


Terri: Homer, from roaming the world’s seas as the captain of various vessels, you decided to start an organization here in Santa Cruz, CA with the significant undertaking of cleaning up the marine garbage patch. What matters the most to you in your life right now that caused this chain of events that altered the direction of your life? If you could sum up what matters to you in one word, what would that word be?

Homer: If I can use two words, they would be Love and Gratitude. I have had great fortune in my life. Not money but incredible adventure and experience, good friends and loving family. I have food and shelter. And I am in a bit of a unique position.

I have been at sea working with very smart people and have a few years experience myself. What I’ve come to is that the problem of floating plastic trash is enormous, but if we identify the individual challenges and address them one at a time they become manageable and then we can slowly achieve our goals. That is how we went to the moon and built pyramids [and that is how we’ll clean up the ocean].

The ocean has been my playground and workplace for all of my life. The Ocean needs help with many problems right now and it is a problem I thought I could do something about. The Clean OceansProject is what we have decided to do. It is an amazing opportunity to get involved [with restoring the majority of our planet].

Terri: You are in a challenging position of “building pyramids” with the Clean Oceans Project—starting from nothing and changing up the way the ocean exists on our planet. How do you stay in Gratitude each day? What would you say to someone who may struggle with being in Gratitude?

Homer: Remaining grateful for the opportunities that come my way is easy. Traveling for work introduced me to numerous cultures and variations in life's stations.

My little girl taught me much at 14 when she observed that the Fijian children she had met in the villages had nothing compared to her, and they were happy. That is an important revelation for a teen.

Things do not produce happiness, there are many wealthy people searching desperately for happiness. Triumph over adversity, compassion for others, achieving a lofty goal and maintaining integrity can all result in happiness, but it is the act of earning it that produces it.

There is love in my life and family and friends, I am truly blessed, and for that I am grateful. My background and situation are unique and it feels imperative that I investigate the limits of my capabilities to the benefit of what and who I love, my family, friends and the ocean.

The challenge has been very tangible for my partner and me and the ability to keep gaining ground for four straight years has been an incredible reward in itself. We have evolved from passionate to informed and managed to attract some remarkable talent and wisdom along the way by embracing integrity and responsibility. Working with these personalities has also been a reward, so you see, there is much to be grateful for.

If someone should find themselves struggling with maintaining gratitude for the wonderful things in life, become a volunteer. Give of yourself with no expectation of return or thanks. There are causes that are important, and people who really need help. When you give of yourself you can more easily recognize your good fortune and opportunities. If you do this honestly it can not fail to teach you gratitude.