The Making of a Plastic Monster

by Kaitlin Grable

May 20, 2019

Great actions need great art.

Last month, plastic monsters came to life around the world, rising up from dirty landfills, climbing over piles of trash, and even swimming up and out of seas, lakes, and rivers to make long and sometimes arduous journeys back home to their source: Nestlé.

You may have seen it on our Facebook or Instagram, or maybe you even saw it in the news. These plastic monsters have become world famous for exposing Nestlé’s plastic problem. And now we want to give you an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the U.S. monster!

Meet the artists behind the plastic monster used to demand that Nestlé end its reliance on single-use plastic. See how they made the monster out of single-use plastic litter in North Carolina, before delivering it to Nestlé headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

Paperhand Puppet Intervention’s mission is to use diverse styles of puppetry and artistic expression to create works that inspire, promote social change, and are deeply rewarding for all involved. They use this puppetry, performance, and creativity to undermine and eradicate greed, hate and fear and promote justice, equality and peace. And they work uncompromisingly to these ends.

“Our collaboration with Greenpeace for us was a very real synthesis of our missions, with wanting our work to have direct positive impact in the world,” Donovan Zimmerman, co-founder and co-director, said. “Both of us are intervening on the business of everyday life and saying ‘this cannot stand.’ As well as being solution oriented, and saying ‘this is a possible way forward.’ Our activism has moved to our stage production more and more over the years, but we come from, and want to still be in touch with, direct action. We use puppets to inspire to reflect, to resist and also to build the imagination needed to envision a bright future on this Earth.”

Jan Burger, co-founder and co-director remarked, “It was very exciting to me working with Greenpeace on a personal level. Back in the early eighties my afterschool teacher started the Kids Conservation Club of Cambridge. She would take us to Greenpeace rallies with giant inflatable whales and keep us informed about actions like spray painting harp seal pups to protect them. Collaborating with Greenpeace on this ocean plastics project is fulfilling a childhood dream of mine and giving me a chance to use my art to help stop this insidious monster.”

We were very fortunate to partner with Paperhand Puppet Intervention on this action and want to thank them for dedication to activism and standing for our earth.

Kaitlin Grable

By Kaitlin Grable

Kaitlin Grable (she/they) is an Online Content Specialist at Greenpeace USA. She is currently based out of Durham, North Carolina on Eno and Occaneechi territory.

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