Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

UN's #BeatPlasticPollution Tag Is the New Ice Bucket Challenge

Popular
UN's #BeatPlasticPollution Tag Is the New Ice Bucket Challenge
Arnold Schwarzenegger pledges to terminate plastic spoons at home. @schwarzenegger / Twitter

In one of the coolest social media campaigns since the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the United Nations launched a global challenge to #BeatPlasticPollution, the theme of World Environment Day on June 5.

The movement encourages you to give up single-use plastics and replace them with reusable and sustainable alternatives. Participants are asked to announce their commitment on social media and tag their friends to help spread the message within 24 hours.


A growing number of celebrities and environmentalists are taking part in the challenge, including actor Adrian Grenier, who has vigorously campaigned against plastic straws as co-founder of Lonely Whale.

"We use 500 million of these suckers every single day in the U.S. alone," the UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador said in his video. "The good news is that people and businesses are making the switch. And it's so easy, all you have to do is switch to an environmentally friendly alternative."

Star Trek Into Darkness actress Alice Eve, who gave up plastic tampon applicators for biodegradable alternatives, said in her post: "Plastic is very bad, it never goes away. A little fish eats it, and then a bigger fish eats it, and then we eat it, and it goes into us. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish."

In his video, former California Governor and staunch environmentalist Arnold Schwarzenegger pledged to terminate plastic spoons in dramatic fashion.

"We all have to work very hard to make this a healthy environment, a great environment, and to save our oceans and save the planet," he said.

Babe actor and activist James Cromwell noted that a million fossil fuel-based plastic bottles are sold around the world every minute.

"Our Earth is in crisis because human activity is destroying the environment. We're addicted to fossil fuels," Cromwell said, adding that we are responsible for the planet's survival.

He cleverly tagged EPA head Scott Pruitt, former ExxonMobil boss Rex Tillerson and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in his video. "Come on boys, pony up. Do the right thing."

Other high-profile participants enthusiastically pledged against using single-use items such as plastic bottles, supermarket bags and drink stirrers, including musician Moby, comedian Rachel Dratch, Harry Potter actor Tom Felton, Flint activist Mari Copeny, extreme swimmer Lewis Pugh, United Nations environment program director Erik Solheim and UN Climate Change executive secretary Patricia Espinosa.

To take part in the challenge, share a selfie or video on social media about the disposable plastic product you'll be giving up. You then "tag" three friends, businesses or high-profile people to challenge them to do the same within 24 hours. Remember to include the #BeatPlasticPollution hashtag and mention @UNEnvironment.

There a numerous ways to take part in this year's World Environment Day. UN Environment is calling on citizens, companies and civil society groups around the world to organize cleanups and has offered a toolkit and lesson plans on how to beat plastic pollution.

From June 2-4, at the inaugural Ocean Heroes Bootcamp in New Orleans, kids ages 11-18 will work together to come up with solutions to fight plastic in their own communities. Their plans will be shared with world leaders at the upcoming G7 Summit in Canada. Although signups for the bootcamp are closed, those interested can participate online.

"Our oceans supply up to 70 percent of earth's oxygen. If they die, so does everything and everyone that needs oxygen," said Nickelodeon star and bootcamp participant Aidan Gallagher, the youngest ever UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador. "Protecting our oceans' health should be our top priority."

Recycling and general waste plastic wheelie bins awaiting collection for disposal in Newport, Rhode Island. Tim Graham / Getty Images

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. According to The National Museum of American History, this popular slogan, with its iconic three arrows forming a triangle, embodied a national call to action to save the environment in the 1970s. In that same decade, the first Earth Day happened, the EPA was formed and Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, encouraging recycling and conservation of resources, Enviro Inc. reported.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The coal-fired Huaneng Power Plant in Huai 'an City, Jiangsu Province, China on Sept. 13, 2020. Costfoto / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

One of the silver linings of the coronavirus pandemic was the record drop in greenhouse gas emissions following national lockdowns. But that drop is set to all but reverse as economies begin to recover, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Trending
A grizzly bear killed an outdoor guide in a rare attack near Yellowstone Park. William Campbell / Corbis / Getty Images

A backcountry guide has died after being mauled by a grizzly bear near Yellowstone National Park.

Read More Show Less
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) re-introduces the Green New Deal in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2021. Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

In the latest of a flurry of proposed Green New Deal legislation, Reps. Cori Bush and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday introduced the Green New Deal for Cities Act of 2021, a $1 trillion plan to "tackle the environmental injustices that are making us and our children sick, costing us our homes, and destroying our planet."

Read More Show Less
Offshore oil and gas drillers have left more than 18,000 miles of pipelines at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Offshore oil and gas drillers have discarded and abandoned more than 18,000 miles of pipelines on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico since the 1960s, a report from the Government Accountability Office says.

Read More Show Less