It’s been six years since I started this project after walking alone across a remote beach on the east coast of Iceland. There I came across a Coke bottle and an ancient styrofoam Big Mac box. I’d always been an environmentalist as well as surf photographer, but this tipped me over an edge.
Having spent years making a book and editing a magazine and spending all my time on cold, remote coastlines I had seen the change, and it dawned on me how much more powerful my shots and stories were than mere statistics. I also suspected that using these would reach far beyond the regular bubble of the surf/enviro world and inspire future generations to want to experience the planet and to protect it.
So The Plastic Project began…
Now it so much more than me, we are building a core group of photographers, film makers and surfers from around the world into an alliance who love the ocean and live their lives right on the frontline of this increasing nightmare.
As a group we spend more time on the beaches and in the sea than any other. What’s more as photographers we’re there documenting these regions for surf and adventure, so it doesn’t take much to turn our creativity towards rubbish. We’re not just talking about doing beachcleans and taking shots of piles of trash, we mean to put the rubbish into perspective. We want to show the world the problem. All those remote coastlines, reefs and islets being swamped in plastic. We want to build a visual map documenting the problem taking every man, woman and child to every stretch of coastline near or far from their home. Make the problem more than a statistic, make it real and inspire at the same time.
Our focus is on education, not just in the classroom, but at every level. We take the adventure and the environmental message into schools and clubs and film festivals across the UK. Our workshops and short films will go much further.
Why are we doing this? Because we’re all communicators. Photography is a creative way of communicating reality, a photo doesn’t lie, it inspires, and we all strongly believe in our craft that it can be a catalyst to help the raft of other environmental groups persuade the whole planet that we need to act. That’s the scale of this issue, everyone on the planet needs to be touched, because it will be our daily habits that help reverse marine litter, all of us putting pressure on businesses to change and the good people amongst us in power to change their businesses.
The planet needs good people more than ever, and those who can communicate and inspire through creativity and by embracing the way we connect, are especially critical to get the message over.
When I walk across a beach in northern Iceland, where no one really goes except surfers, and I find it covered in rubbish, I know it is our responsibilty to document it and if we can, clean it.
I want my son to walk on clean beaches and see real life glaciers in ten years time, so if spuriously motivated politicians can muster support for a movement, then so can we, we have to make Earth great again.
We have been incredibly well supported by a group of concerned companies and over 100 individuals already. If you run a company, or are someone within a company that could be of help, please drop me a line so we can discuss how you can get involved. If you’re an individual you can help us host evenings, become one of our regional photographers. So drop me a line, or you can donate £1 below.