The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
UN's #BeatPlasticPollution Tag Is the New Ice Bucket Challenge
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.
"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.
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."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Extreme weather events supercharged by climate change in 2012 led to nearly 1,000 more deaths, more than 20,000 additional hospitalizations, and cost the U.S. healthcare system $10 billion, a new report finds.
A Bay Area conservation group struck a deal to buy and to protect the world's largest remaining privately owned sequoia forest for $15.6 million. Now it needs to raise the money, according to CNN.
The Rugby World Cup starts Friday in Japan where Pacific Island teams from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga will face off against teams from industrialized nations. However, a new report from a UK-based NGO says that when the teams gather for the opening ceremony on Friday night and listen to the theme song "World In Union," the hypocrisy of climate injustice will take center stage.
By Wudan Yan
In June, New York Times journalist Andy Newman wrote an article titled, "If seeing the world helps ruin it, should we stay home?" In it, he raised the question of whether or not travel by plane, boat, or car—all of which contribute to climate change, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers—might pose a moral challenge to the responsibility that each of us has to not exacerbate the already catastrophic consequences of climate change. The premise of Newman's piece rests on his assertion that traveling "somewhere far away… is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change."
On Monday, Sept. 23, the Climate Group will kick off its 11th annual Climate Week NYC, a chance for governments, non-profits, businesses, communities and individuals to share possible solutions to the climate crisis while world leaders gather in the city for the UN Climate Action Summit.
By Pam Radtke Russell in New Orleans
Local TV weather forecasters have become foot soldiers in the war against climate misinformation. Over the past decade, a growing number of meteorologists and weathercasters have begun addressing the climate crisis either as part of their weather forecasts, or in separate, independent news reports to help their viewers understand what is happening and why it is important.