Will you be a part of this solution? Campaigners and businesses united to launch one of the largest plastic pollution visual surveys ever conducted.
On June 5, coincided with World Environment Day, A Plastic Planet urges you to join the challenge. It's simple. Take a photo of anything you would like to see go plastic free. Post the photo to your social media channels and use the hashtag #OnePlasticFreeDay. Include where you are posting from and what the item or place is.
EcoWatch teamed up with A Plastic Planet via Facebook live on Monday to amplify the voice of the exciting One Plastic Free Day in which people will unite locally and globally to take part in a landmark global visual survey on plastic.
In a press release sent to EcoWatch, A Plastic Planet explains how the photos from social media posts will be used:
Following June 5 the comprehensive global results will be published as part of a landmark visual report into the frustration caused by unnecessary plastic across the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia.
The major new visual report is set to shed new light on the extent of the global plastic crisis, identifying hotspots around the world where decisive change is most needed. One Plastic Free Day is also set to see Governments and big business make their own plastic reduction pledges.
"The fifth of June is a day for us to say we've had enough, but together in harmony and that's how we can really make an impact," said Eileen Horowitz Bastianelli, environmental crusader with EcoCentric Solutions and A Plastic Planet. "The solutions are there but we have to look at them together and we have to approach our governments with the appropriate asks."
What makes this opportunity unique is that it's a solution owned by the people. This is a chance for the public to tell governments and corporations exactly what they want to be rid of plastic.
"This hashtag is really important because it's about everybody," said Frederikke Magnussen, co-founder of A Plastic Planet. "We have more power than we think and that hashtag will show that we are standing together ... we look at plastic as the tip of the iceberg where we can actually try to make a change."
Bastianelli explained in the Facebook Live that she is thrilled to see how many individuals are backing One Plastic Free Day. Not only will billboards celebrating the day be lit up in Times Square, but also in places around the world. Hollywood stars, athletes and leading campaigners are also taking part.
So get out there, snap a photo of an item that is unnecessarily laced in plastic and become a voice in this solution.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.