Teen Vogue Joined Greenpeace at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — Here’s What They Saw
By Perry Wheeler
Throughout this year, people all over the globe united to take on plastic pollution. Greenpeace supporters have asked their local supermarkets to phase out throwaway plastics, helped us reach 3 million signatures to companies like Coca-Cola, Nestle and Unilever demanding they invest in real solutions and participated in beach cleanups and brand audits to name the worst corporate plastic polluters.
Here are three things that Teen Vogue nails about the plastic pollution fight:
1. It's About Corporations, Not Individuals
For a long time, corporations have tried to put the onus on all of us to deal with plastic pollution. They created the narrative that recycling will solve this crisis, but to date, only 9 percent of the plastics that have ever been created have been recycled. They tell us not to litter but ignore the fact that no matter how their packaging gets into the environment, it will last for lifetimes.
A Greenpeace diver holds a banner reading "Coca-Cola is this yours?" and a Coca-Cola bottle found adrift in the garbage patch.
Teen Vogue is spot on to highlight the need for corporate accountability on plastic pollution. That's why we're working with all of you and our allies in the Break Free From Plastic movement to hold cleanups and brand audits around the world. We need to name and publicly shame the worst corporate plastic polluters, and demand that they stop producing so much plastic to begin with. The world's worst polluters must be transparent about their plastic footprints and take responsibility for their pollution. It's time to cut off plastic production at the source.
2. We Can't Just Clean Up the Ocean
Teen Vogue joined Greenpeace on its Arctic Sunrise ship to travel to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and see what "thrown away" really looks like. The reality: a soupy mix of plastics and microplastics twice the size of Texas. While we were able to document some plastic at the surface and collected thousands of pieces of microplastics in the middle of the Pacific, the vast majority of plastic pollution sinks to the bottom of the ocean.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and the oceans in general are impossible to just "clean up." We simply produce too much plastic, and much of it is too difficult to even see. These microfibers and microplastics are consumed by marine animals, and many of us then eat plastics through seafood as well. We simply need to stop producing so much plastic.
If you had a bathtub that was overflowing with water, you would not immediately reach for a mop. You'd first cut off the water at the tap, which is what we need to do with plastic pollution.
Top 5 Myths of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch youtu.be
3. The Throwaway Lifestyle is Just Not Sustainable
The issue actually goes much deeper than single-use plastics. Corporations have sold us on a throwaway lifestyle that trades moments of convenience for polluting or destroying our environment. We can no longer afford a throwaway lifestyle, and it's going to take more than just swapping out one throwaway material for another. We need corporations to fundamentally rethink how they bring products to people, innovating around reuse and reduction.
The fight against plastic pollution has only just begun. We can't rest when a corporation gets rid of plastic straws or a retailer phases out plastic bags. We need systemic change and for corporations to invest some of their profits into thinking through a world beyond throwaway plastics. Our oceans, waterways and communities depend on it.
Teen Vogue's continuing series Plastic Planet addresses the plastic crisis plaguing our oceans—while offering solutions and ways you can do something about it. Keep an eye on their site for additional content this month.
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Britain's Prince William interviewed famed broadcaster David Attenborough on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Switzerland.
During the sit-down, the 92-year-old naturalist advised the world leaders and business elite gathered in Davos this week that we must respect and protect the natural world, adding that the future of its survival—as well as humanity's survival—is in our hands.
What's more, the accounting firm predicts that another 21 million electric cars will be on the road globally over the next decade due to growing market demand for clean transportation, government subsidies, as well as bans on fossil fuel cars.
By Matthew Savoca
Plastic pollution in the world's oceans has become a global environmental crisis. Many people have seen images that seem to capture it, such as beaches carpeted with plastic trash or a seahorse gripping a cotton swab with its tail.
Greenland is melting about four times faster than it was in 2003, a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found, a discovery with frightening implications for the pace and extent of future sea level rise.
"We're going to see faster and faster sea level rise for the foreseeable future," study lead author and Ohio State University geodynamics professor Dr. Michael Bevis said in a press release. "Once you hit that tipping point, the only question is: How severe does it get?"
Finally, some good news about the otherwise terrible partial government shutdown. A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot issue permits to conduct seismic testing during the government impasse.
The Justice Department sought to delay—or stay—a motion filed by a range of coastal cities, businesses and conservation organizations that are suing the Trump administration over offshore oil drilling, Reuters reported. The department argued that it did not have the resources it needed to work on the case due to the shutdown.
Most people have heard of the Amazon, South America's famed rainforest and hub of biological diversity. Less well known, though no less critical, is the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland.
Like the Amazon, the Pantanal is ecologically important and imperiled. Located primarily in Brazil, it also stretches into neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay. Covering an area larger than England at more than 70,000 square miles, the massive wetland provides irreplaceable ecosystem services that include the regulation of floodwaters, nutrient renewal, river flow for navigability, groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration. The wetland also supports the economies of the four South American states it covers.
By Andrea Germanos
Organizers said 35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they're "fed up" with industrial agriculture and call for a transformation to a system that instead supports the welfare of the environment, animals and rural farmers.
By Patrick Rogers
If you have ever considered making the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle, don't drag your feet. Though EV prices are falling, and states are unveiling more and more public charging stations and plug-in-ready parking spots, the federal government is doing everything it can to slam the brakes on our progress away from gas-burning internal combustion engines. President Trump, likely pressured by his allies in the fossil fuel industry, has threatened to end the federal tax credits that have already helped put hundreds of thousands of EVs on the road—a move bound to harm not only our environment but our economy, too. After all, the manufacturing and sale of EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids supported 197,000 jobs in 2017, according to the most recent U.S. Energy and Employment Report.