A couple of weeks ago, myself and a few other MediaCommers attended Nigel Gwilliam’s recap session on this year’s SXSW. Nigel highlighted that one prevalent theme of the festival was how climate change continues to worsen, and that innovative solutions are sprouting up around this.
Don’t be fooled, this is not a marketing innovations update, but a beautiful segue into my latest obsession. The main thing I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since the SXSW update is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Since learning of it, I can’t stop thinking about it. Maybe I’ve been living under a rock in blissful ignorance – as I’ve been reading more and more, I found that it’s been written about for the last 10 years, but I’d never heard of it before.
For anyone unfamiliar with the monster that is the GPGP, it is formed because between 1 – 2.41 million tonnes of plastic are entering our oceans from rivers each year. Over half of that plastic is less dense than the sea, so doesn’t sink and is instead caught and transported within currents until it accumulates in a patch (or gyre, or vortex).
Here are the 10 most horrifying things I think everyone should know about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch:
The Ocean Clean Up is a non-profit organisation that are currently developing technologies to clean up the GPGP, and you can support their work here if you feel passionately about this. The fight back against the damage we are causing our natural world is very topical right now. In the UK, David Attenborough continues to raise the profile of the pollution in our oceans – for example Blue Planet II brought much attention and action against single use plastics.
I’m not here to preach – given that I only just found out about the GPGP who am I to talk; but reducing our plastic usage provides a great excuse to invest in some nice treats. In case the 10 horrifying facts about the GPGP doesn’t motivate you, here’s some shopping inspiration to help you along your way…
I appreciate that a grim obsession with a heap of floating plastic in the sea is likely not the desired outcome of a SXSW update, but it is important to discuss the GPGP for so many reasons. This planet is our home and our consumption choices do have an impact. Awareness of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, along with all the other damage we are doing to our oceans will continue to rise, and from this we can expect changes to consumer behaviour to be influenced as such. Thoughtful and sustainable consumption is on the rise, and as marketers we need to understand the driving motivations behind these behaviours.