National Geographic Launches ‘Planet or Plastic?’ Multiyear Initiative

National Geographic Launches 'Planet or Plastic?' Multiyear Initiative

National Geographic asks people to take simple steps to reduce single-use plastic; hosts three-day takeover on social channels featuring Zooey Deschanel

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.

The brand launched 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.

The initiative will leverage the power of its media portfolio around the world and the expertise of its explorers and scientists who are witnessing firsthand the devastating impacts of this crisis.

This organisation-wide effort will include a major research and scientific initiative, a consumer education and engagement campaign, updated internal corporate sustainability commitments, and innovative partnerships with like-minded corporations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from all over the world.

The launch is tied to the release of the June issue of National Geographic magazine, which takes an in-depth look at the role single-use plastics play in our society and the impact they are having on our environment.

Starting with this issue, the brand announced that it will begin wrapping the US, UK, and India subscriber editions of the magazine in paper instead of plastic, with the goal of wrapping all global editions in paper by the end of 2019.

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. The Society is also sourcing solutions to the challenge of plastic waste through an existing Reducing Marine Plastic Pollution Request for Proposal (RFP).

As a global social media brand, it will use the power and reach of its platforms to educate people about the impact of single-use plastic and to encourage them to take the pledge.

For the next three days, the brand will “pollute” its Instagram feed, @natgeo, with photos of the plastics crisis as well as animated Instagram stories to highlight the true impact of humanity’s pollution of the natural world.

@natgeo will also feature photos taken by photographer Randy Olson, who travelled around the world to document the plastics crisis and is featured in the June issue of the magazine.

On Thursday, 17 May, actress and singer Zooey Deschanel (“New Girl,” She & Him) curated National Geographic’s Instagram account, posting photos of the plastic crisis.

On Friday, 18 May, the brand’s photographers will be posting their own photos of the crisis. Also on Friday, Kathryn Kellogg, a writer and public speaker who lives a “zero-waste” lifestyle and focuses on the dangers of plastic pollution, will host a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) about small, actionable eco-friendly steps that people can take in their everyday lives.

Kellogg, who is featured in the June issue of National Geographic, has fit all of the trash that she has generated at home in the last two years into a 16-ounce jar.

Sky Media and National Geographic are joining forces in the fight to eradicate the destructive impact of plastic litter in the world’s oceans.

National Geographic has committed US$10 million/£7.4 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.

Bringing to bear the brand’s scientific expertise, grants and media reach, the collaboration will identify and champion projects and groundbreaking technologies designed to reduce plastic waste and its impact on oceans.

It will also support a series of events with industry leaders, corporations, institutions and foundations, engaging them around the issue of marine plastic pollution.

Collectively, this new collaboration will create the largest global media campaign to date to reduce plastic litter in the ocean.

National Geographic will seek out and partner with a number of like-minded corporations and organisations that are committed to raising awareness about the enormity of the ocean plastic issue as well as to finding solutions.

For example, The North Face, who is partnering with the brand to introduce a limited Bottle Source Collection, will feature shirts made from recycled plastic bottles diverted from National Park waste streams.

Finally, the brand will be taking steps to reduce its own reliance on single-use plastics. Starting with the June issue and moving forward, those who subscribe to the US, UK, and India editions of National Geographic magazine will receive their issues wrapped in paper instead of plastic.

This change will save more than 2.5 million single-use plastic bags every month. By the end of 2019, all global editions will be wrapped in paper instead of plastic.

This is just one of many steps National Geographic is taking to reduce its own single-use plastic consumption.

Over the next month, National Geographic will initiate a third-party audit of its single-use plastic use and will develop a timeline and action plan to further minimise single-use plastics in the workplace.

“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.

“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,” said Gary E Knell, CEO of National Geographic Partners.