Earth Day 2018’s theme is to End Plastic Pollution, and Greenpeace Canada is rising to the challenge with the launch of our brand new project that’s a bit different from the way we usually tackle environmental problems. Because plastic has not only consumed our daily lives but has sadly increasingly consumed our waterways, oceans, landscapes and communities, we need to approach this problem in a way that mirrors its scale and reach.
And here’s how we’re going to do it.
Today we are kickstarting a new open-style project aimed at supporting people across Canada who want to lead their own campaigns in their communities and beyond to stop the production and consumption of single-use, throwaway plastics. If you’re as frustrated and concerned about plastic as we are, we need you to urge governments to hold the real culprits of this problem — the corporations that make and sell single-use plastic products — accountable and chart a new course towards a plastic-free, healthier future for our blue planet. We want to help build a global movement of people saying, “enough is enough!” to our throwaway culture and bring on the real solutions!
What is an open-style project?
It’s a project that was designed with input from our supporters and the wider public, and one that will be driven by Greenpeace supporters and change agents like you who are already keen to tackle this problem. It’s a project designed for Greenpeace to provide tools, tips and trainings for people interested in taking action in various ways but who may not be well-versed in campaign planning, tactics or communications. It’s a project aimed at building on the amazing work of organizations and individuals in the #BreakFreeFromPlastic global movement, and across Canada. It’s a project that seeks to help build a community of change agents who are connected, activated and empowered.
What tools is Greenpeace providing?
In Canada, and around the globe, we are excited to release an action how-to guide called A Million Acts of Blue: A Toolkit for a Plastic-Free Future. This toolkit is a comprehensive guide to creating change in your community with several kinds of actions you can take beyond reducing your own plastic footprint. The actions are focused on stopping the problem at the source by pushing local businesses, restaurants, retailers and large corporations to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics, and by growing support for larger governmental action that holds plastic producers and polluters accountable for the mess they have created and that moves beyond our disposable-centric systems. The actions range from learning and sharing your passion for this issue to passing legislation in your city.
What’s an Act of Blue?
An Act of Blue is any action that helps to stop single-use plastic from being created in the first place. It’s inspired by love for our amazing blue planet and the urgent need to protect our oceans, waterways, landscapes and communities. It aims to hold corporations accountable for the plastic pollution crisis they helped to create.
You can get your copy of the toolkit by pledging to support a plastic-free future at greenpeace.ca/plastics.
You might be thinking, well what about the usual Greenpeace style campaigns? Will you be calling out any plastic producers and polluters? The answer is, of course! Alongside our allies in the global #BreakfreeFromPlastic movement, we will continue to push for corporations to reduce and eventually phase out single-use plastic production like we did with our #Choke campaign targeting Coca-Cola. We are taking action around the world to force companies to accept responsibility for their polluting products and to expose the companies that are most responsible for plastic pollution through activities like brand audits of trash collected during clean-ups. The toolkit offers guidance on how you can take these types of actions in your own community and also how you can directly support Greenpeace-led projects over the coming year.
So let’s get to it. Here is a rundown of the 7 toolkit actions.
The first step towards action is knowledge. Are you a member of a community group that is eager to learn more about how they can protect our oceans and communities? Maybe your child’s teacher is looking for ways to teach kids about environmental protection? Our toolkit has powerpoints and tips for giving a presentation — you can even host a movie night!
If you want to make a change in your community, start with local media! Local newspapers, blogs and magazines are great avenues for getting the word out. In the toolkit, we walk you through how to write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and how to get it published.
Nowhere is the dominance of single-use plastics and wasteful packaging more obvious than at local supermarkets. Make waves in your community by working to get local supermarkets to reduce their use of single-use plastics.
Fed up with all the plastic straws and utensils at fast food places, restaurants, and cafes? Join the growing movement urging establishments to get rid of throwaway plastic products.
All over the world, towns, cities, and villages are standing up for a plastic-free future by implementing local bans and laws restricting the use of throwaway plastic. Be part of this movement by working with your neighbors to get your local government to do the same.
Everyone loves a litter cleanup event, so why not take it to the next level? Get your community together to clean up a local beach, park, riverbank, or other public space — but don’t stop there. Go through the single-use plastics collected and identify which companies produced them. Let’s hold corporations responsible for their plastic waste!
You don’t have to do it alone. We have a lot of work to do, and we’ll get a lot further — and have more fun — together. Get some friends and neighbors together for a plastic-free future! We’ve already reached a million people around the world who have called on big corporations to do their part to end single-use plastics. This year, we’re aiming for another Million Acts of Blue.