WASHINGTON (May 16, 2018)— As the amount of single-use plastic in the world’s oceans continues to grow, National Geographic is announcing a new, global commitment to tackle this pressing problem. Today, National Geographic is launching Planet or Plastic?, a multiyear initiative aimed at raising awareness of this challenge and reducing the amount of single-use plastic that enters in the world’s oceans. Doing so will not only benefit the thousands to potentially millions of marine animals that become entangled in, suffocated by, or ingest plastic each year, but will also contribute to the overall health of the planet’s marine ecosystems and all who rely upon them.
Today’s guest blog comes from Jason Paul, who is a paddling enthusiast and lifelong lover of the sea. Jason is the lead editor of InflatableBoarder.com and lives in beautiful Panama with his wife and two small children.
Despite nationwide legislation to eliminate plastic bags from our daily existence here in the United States, our oceans are still feeling the choking effects of paper-thin plastic. States like California, Hawaii, and Florida have all introduced new legislation either banning or applying fees to the use of plastic bags, and many individuals and organizations are doing everything they can think of to raise awareness on this issue. Unfortunately, plastic pollution is a global epidemic and national legislation and local initiatives are only a drop in the bucket in comparison to the massive global problem of plastic bag usage. It’s estimated that nearly one trillion bags are used each year around the globe — a staggering figure by anyone’s standards.
DAVID KLEMENT is the executive director of St. Petersburg College’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions, which is dedicated to advancing academic excellence, community engagement, civics literacy and public understanding through strategic partnerships and solutions-directed programs.
On April 26, the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions will sponsor a screening of “A Plastic Ocean,” a documentary film that captures in shocking detail the pollution of the world’s oceans by plastic – that ubiquitous material that seems to dominate modern life and never goes away. The event is free, but advance registration is requested at http://solutions.spcollege.edu/. It will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Digitorium on the Seminole Campus of St. Petersburg College, 9200 113th St. N.
Reflecting on that plastic pollution reminded me of the 1967 movie “The Graduate,” which starred a young Dustin Hoffman. To me, the most memorable dialogue in the movie was not in the iconic seduction scene, where Mrs. Robinson and Benjamin (played by Hoffman) engage in some hot-and-heavy banter about . . .you know. . .
Our global executive director, Julie Andersen, joined Andrew Castle on his popular talk show on the UK’s leading commercial radio broadcaster, LBC in London. The topic of conversation was the recently proposed bottle return scheme for the UK, along with general discussion on the overall problem of plastic pollution and how we solve the problem.
The Vibe Tribe and Plastic Oceans
Students from all over the world had an opportunity to discuss and seek out solutions to the environmental and humanitarian issues in our world today. 21 schools from across Asia attended the opening ceremony which was celebrated with a dinner and a private screening of the acclaimed documentary, A Plastic Ocean.
Plastic Oceans team completes mission to Santiago, Chile
What an amazing week we just had for our efforts at the Plastic Oceans Foundation – both north and south of the equator.
While our US Chairman, William Pfeiffer, was representing us in Davos, I was joined in Chile by Chief Evangelist, Craig Leeson, and our Director of Partnerships, Brigette Allen. Hosting and coordinating our journey was Mark Minneboo, Executive Director of Plastic Oceans Chile.
U.S Chairman joins panel discussion during the World Economic Forum
Each January the most powerful of the powerful gather in the quaint Swiss Alps hamlet of Davos – from heads of state and Fortune 100 CEOs, to leaders NGO representatives, and the most brilliant of thought leaders imaginable. They come together at the World Economic Forum with the mission to make the world a better place by fostering public-private cooperation.
When you arrive in Rwanda at Kigali airport you will see a large sign reading, “Use of non-biodegradable polythene bags is prohibited”. That’s right, the country as a whole has banned the use of plastic bags. After the Rwandan genocide, authorities have spent time rebuilding the country and contributing to its economic progression to what it is today. Rwanda is probably Africa’s cleanest nation, and considered one of the most pristine places in the world. It wasn’t the plastic bags themselves that authorities were concerned about, but the ways in which they were being disposed of that was creating controversy. The majority of the plastic was being burned after use that released harmful and toxic pollutants throughout the air. Aside from the burning, the plastic was often disposed improperly and would cause flooding from clogging the country’s drainage systems.