National Geographic is launching a multiyear ‘Planet or Plastic?’ campaign to encourage consumers to reduce single-use plastics.
This story is part of Planet or Plastic?—our multiyear effort to raise awareness about the global plastic waste crisis. Learn what you can do to reduce your own single-use plastics, and take your pledge.
Read this story and more in the June 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine.
It’s hard to get your head around the story of plastic. The facts and figures are so staggering as to seem almost fantastical.
Can it really be true that half the plastic ever made was produced in the past 15 years? That a trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year, with an average “working life” of just 15 minutes? That some nine million tons of plastic waste go into the oceans every year? And that estimates for how long plastic endures range from 450 years to forever?
The answer, unfortunately, is yes— those grim facts, and more, are all true. That’s why we asked writer Laura Parker and photographer Randy Olson to put this global crisis in perspective, in coverage published across our digital platforms and in our June print edition.
The good news is, this crisis can be mitigated. And all of us in this organization—from the National Geographic Society to the broadcast and publishing divisions of National Geographic Partners—want to do our part. With this issue, we’re kicking off a multiyear campaign aimed at educating consumers on the crisis and how they can help reverse the blight of single-use plastic in Earth’s oceans and waterways.
And that’s why, if you’re a subscriber in the U.S., U.K., or India, this month’s issue arrived in a paper rather than plastic wrapper. This change alone will save more than 2.5 million single-use plastic bags every month. We’ve also challenged all our international partners—who publish 36 local-language editions of National Geographic around the globe—to get rid of plastic wrappers by the end of 2019.
That’s just a first step. Because we’re committed to having an impact on this crisis, we’re launching a global campaign. Under the campaign banner of Planet or Plastic? we’ll deploy content across all our platforms to raise awareness and encourage consumers to act.
To build support for the Planet or Plastic? campaign, National Geographic is asking people around the world to pledge to reduce their reliance on single-use plastic. Those who take the pledge will become part of a new global community working to stem the tide of plastics polluting the ocean.
With the launch of the campaign and our June issue, National Geographic has also joined entertainment company Sky Media in supporting Sky Ocean Ventures, an initiative to invest in businesses that can help solve the ocean plastic crisis. National Geographic will contribute scientific expertise, grant and media muscle, and $10 million to help Sky Ocean Ventures identify and champion promising projects and technologies.