Breaking free from plastic

“We have to keep the momentum going so that we can come together and protect our ocean,” said the US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Our Oceans Conference in Washington DC in mid-September. “Why? Because our ocean is absolutely essential for life itself – not just the food, but the oxygen and weather cycles of the planet all depend on the ocean.”

Oak Foundation is delighted with this recognition by Secretary Kerry of what is a serious pollution problem. Indeed, the world’s oceans are becoming increasingly clogged with plastic waste year on year and it is imperative that people take action. “More has to be done to face this problem,” says Kristian Parker, Trustee of the Environment Programme at Oak Foundation. “If we don’t act now, plastic won’t just be in the ecosystem, it will become an increasingly dominant feature of the ecosystem.”

We really have no time to lose – if our current pollution levels continue as they are, a World Economic Forum study (produced by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation) warns that the world’s oceans will hold one kilogram of plastic for every three kilograms of fish by the year 2025. As bad as that sounds, if we don’t change how things are being done, the ratio will be one to one by the year 2050.

Kristian was one of the participants in the Our Oceans Conference, where he presented as part of a panel to 500 politicians, practitioners and experts. He called on philanthropy to provide additional resources for the oceans, and issued a challenge to others to join the plastics campaign. On the same day, an alliance of 90 non-governmental organisations announced the #breakfreefromplastic movement.  Following that, within a week, nearly 500 non-governmental organisations had joined the call worldwide.
“This is great news,” said Stephen Campbell, Programme Officer for the Environment Programme at Oak.  “Let’s keep this momentum going.”

Oak Foundation has committed a total of USD 60 million to ocean conservation over the next three years.  This commitment supports projects to end overfishing, protect small scale fisheries and reduce plastic pollution. We also provide USD 40 million per year to our climate change programme. All of these investments benefit the oceans.

Find out more about the Our Oceans Conference here.

Check out a short video from Zero Waste Europe on plastic waste in the Philippines.

Do you want to support the #breakfreefromplastic movement? Sign up for it here.

Also read a recent announcement on Oak’s website here.


© Mia Moore/Oak Foundation