Dede's Green Scene: Zooey Deschanel Joins National Geographic's "Planet or Plastic?" Campaign by Dede Tabak, December 13 2018, 18 Comments

New Girl

Zooey Deschanel is using her “New Girl” stardom to spread the real news to the world about plastics in our oceans. National Geographic launched a multi-year initiative back in June 2018 called “Planet or Plastics?”, to reduce the use of single-use plastics in our oceans. As part of the launch, Deschanel took over the National Geographic Instagram page, on behalf of her organization the Farm Project, to bring awareness about the impact disposable plastics have on our oceans by posting haunting images. It’s no surprise that Deschanel is looking to raise awareness about plastic. She also took part in this video about microplastics in January 2018.

Both Zooey Deschanel and National Geographic have reasons to be concerned. Each year, 9 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean with the potential to remain in the marine environment for 450 years or even longer. As of 2015, more than 6.9 billion tons of plastic waste had been generated. Around 9% of that was recycled, 12% was incinerated, and 79% accumulated in landfills or the environment, and more than 40% of plastic is used just once and then thrown away (not recycled).

“For 130 years, National Geographic has documented the stories of our planet, providing audiences around the world with a window into the earth’s breathtaking beauty as well as to the threats it faces,” said Gary E. Knell, CEO of National Geographic Partners. “Each and every day, our explorers, researchers and photographers in the field witness firsthand the devastating impact of single-use plastic on our oceans, and the situation is becoming increasingly dire. Through the ‘Planet or Plastic?’ initiative, we will share the stories of this growing crisis, work to address it through the latest science and research and educate audiences around the world about how to eliminate single-use plastics and prevent them from making their way into our oceans.”

Why National Geographic?

As a global brand with a history of scientific discovery and exploration, National Geographic says it is uniquely positioned to tackle this crisis in a way that only National Geographic can—through storytelling and science. The “Planet or Plastic?” campaign launched with the June 2018 National Geographic magazine issue and it made big headlines with its first coveran iceberg on top, but at the bottom, a plastic bag. This artwork is called “Iceberg Plastico“ and was created by artist Jorge Gamboa. The issue also made an impact since National Geographic mailed out the issue without its plastic wrapping, but with paper instead. This is estimated to save more than 2.5 million single-use plastic bags every month.

In addition, as part of the efforts, National Geographic has committed $10 million to support the activities of Sky Ocean Ventures, an initiative launched by Sky Media to seek out investment opportunities in businesses that can help solve the ocean plastic crisis. National Geographic will:

  • Seek out a partner with a number of like-minded corporations that are also committed to raising awareness about this problem
  • Use a third party to audit the company’s single-use plastic use
  • Develop a timeline and action plan to further minimize single-use plastics in the workplace

More Developments

The nonprofit National Geographic Society will embark on a journey to better document how plastic travels from source to sea and to fill critical knowledge gaps. Starting with an initial expedition in 2019 to study the type and flow of plastic in a river system, National Geographic will provide science-based, actionable information to help local and national governments, NGOs, businesses and the public more effectively invest in and implement innovative solutions.

Finally, National Geographic is asking people around the world to make changes in their own lives as well and to pledge a commitment to reduce their use of single-use plastics. This is a crisis and we must do something now. As Zooey Deschanel said when she took over National Geographic’s Instagram:

“Doing so will not only benefit the thousands of marine animals that become entangled in or suffocated by plastics each year, but will also contribute to the overall health of the planet’s marine ecosystems and all who rely upon them.”

Check here to make the pledge and to learn more.

Here at Ecoplum, we have already taken the pledge! Our mission/goal is to help scale down the amount of plastic waste produced by promotional products that end up in the oceans. If you're just dipping your toes in the ocean of reducing plastic consumption, check out some of our products to get started!