Plastic Futures

Celebrating the power of media to influence the public –
6 minute animation



Fifty years ago Dustin Hoffman was advised in The Graduate: “One word. PLASTICS.” The power of the media made plastics a hot career. As The Graduate foretold, plastic production has boomed to twenty times what it was fifty years ago and now has changed our civilization and environment in significant ways. Our six minute short film PLASTIC is a fast montage with two book ends: the classic clip from The Graduate, ending with Dustin Hoffman today on the 50th anniversary at the end, advising a young surfer, “We’ve got to clean up this plastic.”

The media can impact the future by focusing a mass audience. 50 years ago the media used its influence to make PLASTIC into a hot career. Now that media power can make the public aware of the great environmental problems arising from our overuse of plastic for disposable products, which end up  in our oceans and ultimately in our own food chain.

earthDECKS articles: Saving Our Oceans from Plastic

The Circular Economy • Ellen MacArthur Foundation

On May 18, 2017 Dame Ellen MacArthur announced a $2 Million Plastic Innovation Prize to keep plastic out of our oceans, jointly sponsored by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation with the Prince of Wales’ Sustainability Unit and funded by philanthropist Wendy Schmidt.

The day after setting a world speed record in her solo sail around the world, Ellen MacArthur was named Dame Ellen MacArthur of the British Empire, the youngest person ever to be named to that title. She is still racing full speed around the world, no longer as a solo sailor but growing a collaborative intelligence network to keep plastic out of our oceans.

In her TED talk, Dame Ellen MacArthur tells her story. The person with the courage to sail solo around the globe, set a world record, withstand a near collision with a whale, and the other risks of the open ocean, is also the person to take on a mammoth global challenge – her joint venture with The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit to launch a $2 million design competition to keep plastics out of the ocean, which we anticipate will trigger a wave of supporting activities. More here: Circular Economy: Dame Ellen MacArthur

Already there is industry promotion of this major challenge. The American Chemistry Council is promoting the $2 Million Plastic Innovation Prize to keep plastic out of our ocean.  See Industry Response to the Plastic Challenge.

See our two articles on the Plastic Innovation Challenge:

Sylvia Earle • Mission Blue

Dr. Sylvia Earle was formerly chief scientist of NOAA,  and is the founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Inc. and founder of Mission Blue and SEAlliance. Her foundation Mission Blue is developing a global network of protected land and ocean areas to maintain biodiversity and resiliency in response to accelerating climate change.

National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is an  oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer and director for corporate and nonprofit organizations, including the Kerr McGee Corporation, Dresser Industries, Oryx Energy, the Aspen Institute, the Conservation Fund, American Rivers, Mote Marine Laboratory, Duke University Marine Laboratory, Rutgers Institute for Marine Science, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and Ocean Futures.

In addition to her PhD. from Duke University, she holds 22 honorary degrees and has authored more than 190 scientific, technical, and popular publications; lectured in more than 80 countries; appeared in hundreds of radio and television productions and led more than a hundred expeditions. In July 2012 she set a record for solo diving in 1,000-meter depth.

Earle is the recipient of more than a hundred national and international honors and in 2014 was named a Glamour Woman of the Year. Other honors include the 2011 Royal Geographical Society Gold Medal, 2011 Medal of Honor from the Dominican Republic, 2009 TED Prize, Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark, Australia’s International Banksia Award, Italy’s Artiglio Award, the International Seakeepers Award, the International Women’s Forum, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, Academy of Achievement, Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year, medals from the Explorers Club, Philadelphia Academy of Sciences, Lindbergh Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, Sigma Xi, Barnard College, and Society of Women Geographers.

The PLASTIC BANK: Blockchain meets Plastic Trash

David Katz aimed to reveal the value in plastic and to make plastic waste too valuable to enter the ocean. With Co-Founder Shaun Frankson they announced the concept of Social Plastic®, traveled to Peru and Colombia to learn from those who recycle for a living. By mid 2014, The Plastic Bank successfully inspired a million person Social Plastic® movement with supporters asking companies to use #SocialPlastic.

Our global Innovation Challenge is to turn millions of tons of plastic waste, clogging our landfills and oceans, into a resource.

Plastic trash, removed from beaches, is being turned into products, from clothing to sunglasses, even roads.

PLASTIC ASPHALT: Better, Cheaper Roads & Less Plastic Trash

40 million kilometers of roads were made using 100s of millions of barrels of oil for asphalt, a petroleum product. Suppose we had a substitute?

The Scottish startup company, MacRebur, has developed plastic asphalt using recycled plastic, which saves oil AND produces stronger, better, cheaper roads. Their mission is to reduce plastic in landfills by using it for roads.

This immersive, fast-paced animation, will show both the clever uses of plastic and tragedy of our plastic-filled ocean. An EcoWatch Report warned that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Industry has rallied. We’ll explore the power of media to awaken the deep insights experienced by Laurie Penland, diver with the Smithsonian, and other swimmers and divers, and to inspire their empathy for the ocean in others.


We will launch development of a Knowledge Platform, using an Esri Story Map User Interface to celebrate Game•Changers and their innovations. earthDECKS Co-Founder Zann Gill, M.Arch. Harvard, has an issued patent in the domain of knowledge management (cited by two patents from Salesforce, as well as patents from ATT, Microsoft, Siemens, Tencent and others), and a second continuation patent issued July 18, 2017. The image below shows a DRAFT mock-up for the interactive, clickable user interface for the Knowledge Platform under development by earthDECKS.