Imagine visiting one of America’s great natural wonders, Yosemite National Park, Monument Valley, Joshua Tree, or driving through the open plains from the Rockies to the Mississippi. There was a time when litter and pollution along America’s highways was of such concern that a national nonprofit organization, Keep America Beautiful, was founded to combat the problem. Well-known for their “Crying Indian” anti-litter campaign which began in 1971, the organization focused on three areas: litter prevention, recycling and waste reduction, and beautification and community greening.

Their work is ongoing, but the pollution problem hasn’t gone away. The world’s oceans are choked with plastic debris and waste. It is difficult to comprehend the magnitude of the problem, but researchers continue to document and examine the environmental impacts of such widespread pollution. Awareness of the issue is growing, spurring people into action. What will it take to keep the oceans clean and beautiful?

Some say it’s time to refuse single-use plastics. Others have suggested charging for plastic bag use to reduce consumption. Dianna Cohen helped found the Plastic Pollution Coalition and has garnered support from actors and musicians. She has also started educational projects for children to help raise awareness at an early age. Some prefer art, others politics. But one thing seems absolutely certain — if the Yosemite Valley was infused with plastic waste, we’d find a way to clean it up and stop it from happening again.

Here is a comedy/musical/awareness message: “Plastic State of Mind”

Related posts:

Ocean Plastic: Part One – 5 Gyres Institute

Ocean Plastic: Part Two – Evidence

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