NatGeo Helps ‘Activate’ Viewers

Actor Daren Criss helps workers in Manila sort plastic bottles and cans to be recycled. Image: Global Citizen/Ryan Gall

Last Week the six-part series Activate premiered on the National Geographic Channel as a partnership between consumer product giant P&G, Radical Media, Global Citizen, and National Geographic. As Fast & Co. explained, the series “features celebrities such as music producer Pharrell Williams, rapper Common, and actors Darren Criss and Uzo Aduba, and highlights the work of grassroots activists ending cash bail, eradicating plastic pollution, and more. The series, which takes viewers from the Philippines to Peru to Nigeria, is beautifully shot, and the activists are passionate and sincere. One aim of the project is to inspire others to do their part to end poverty and save the planet.”

Last night I (Miro) attended the premiere of Activate at National Geographic’s headquarters and was really taken by the stories of the communities where the partners were working to build better waste collection infrastructure. Five Asian countries (Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines) are dumping more plastic into the ocean than all other nations combined. But as the World Wildlife Fund’s Erin Simon explained, before we merely assign blame we have to remember that when some communities are struggling to feed and house themselves, asking them to prioritize waste collection without adequate resources is a big ask.

WWF’s Erin Simon and P&G’s Director of Sustainability Jack Mcaneny discuss the effort to help develop waste management infrastructure in developing countries.

Why This Matters: There are countless corporate/NGO initiatives that seek to bring solutions to critical global problems. However, this partnership with Global Citizen calls on every person to assess their platform and what they are able to do to advance important causes, like global sustainability. Additionally, compelling environmental storytelling is important to expand our national conversation around these issues. In fact, this concept is echoed in Variety’s recent piece Is Hollywood Doing Enough to Fight the Climate Crisis? where the effort by groups like NRDC to push Hollywood screenwriters and showrunners to bring more focus on climate change in popular entertainment is chronicled. If you haven’t checked out Activate yet, catch it on Sundays on National Geographic channel!

Up Next

One Cool Thing: Happy Meal, Happy Earth

One Cool Thing: Happy Meal, Happy Earth

The McDonald’s toys you grew up loving (and then losing under the seats in your mom’s car) are going green. The iconic toys that come in every meal will soon be made mostly from corn and other sustainable materials instead of petroleum-based plastics. The company hopes to make the transition complete across all stores globally […]

Continue Reading 129 words
One Cool Thing: Get on Your E-Bikes and Ride

One Cool Thing: Get on Your E-Bikes and Ride

Bike riders and commuters across the nation will be getting some special benefits for purchasing an electric bicycle. Included in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget plan is $7.4 billion in tax credits for e-bike purchases. The administration hopes that it can encourage more people to choose biking instead of driving to help curb transportation emissions, […]

Continue Reading 135 words
California Bill Aims to Clarify Recycling Symbols

California Bill Aims to Clarify Recycling Symbols


By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Those three arrows in a triangle are an easy shorthand for recyclables, but there’s one problem:  just because the symbol is printed on a product, doesn’t necessarily mean the item is recyclable. It simply informs consumers of the type of plastic used based on the number within the arrows. […]

Continue Reading 391 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.