On World Oceans Day, the Dopper Foundation unveiled its Plastic Bridge interactive art installation in New York City’s Shubert Alley in the Times Square district, in collaboration with National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey, an entertaining and immersive adventure across the ocean from the South Pacific to the coast of California.
Measuring 30 feet wide by 11 feet tall, the plastic replica of the Brooklyn Bridge is built by Burning Man Artist Colin Hendee and is made with 5,000 single-use plastic water bottles, which were collected by New Yorkers and Sure We Can, a nonprofit recycling center in Brooklyn. National Geographic Explorer & Artist Asher Jay also incorporated 50 of her recycled bottles into the replica. Jay has a permanent exhibit on display at Encounter titled Message In a Bottle, a series of painted plastic bottles collected from the world’s beaches.
The Plastic Bridge installation officially launches Dopper Foundation’s Plastic Bridge Project, a global educational initiative that encourages children to step into a lifestyle free of single-use plastic water bottles, since they are the next generation of environmental changemakers. With the goal to turn the tide on plastics in the world’s oceans, to reduce the use of disposable plastic water bottles, and to provide access to safe drinking water for all, Dopper Foundation is working with Encounter and other inspirational leaders across various industries to spread the important message of ending the use of single-use plastic water bottles.
“Around the world, nearly one million plastic beverage bottles are sold every minute. That is equivalent to building the Brooklyn Bridge out of single use plastic bottles, and our Plastic Bridge replica represents the scale of bottles sold in a split second – 5,000,” said Merijn Everaarts, founder Dopper Foundation. “Building a bridge is a metaphor – if you want to bridge the gap from bad habits to good habits, you need to explain how we can reach goals by making small steps in the right direction. When you want to change someone’s behavior, you can show them statistics, but I believe you need an emotional reaction to make a change. Inspiration makes an impact. That’s why we at Dopper Foundation use multiple art forms in this project – to inspire, to move and to show that we need to do better,” added Everaarts.
“National Geographic’s recently launched ‘Planet or Plastic’ multiyear initiative is a dedicated effort to raise awareness about the global plastic trash crisis with the goal to reduce single-use plastics. Coming off the heels of this committed program, we are thrilled to collaborate with Dopper Foundation today on World Oceans Day to bring awareness to ocean sustainability,” said Lisa Truitt, Chief Creative Officer of SPE Partners, creators and developers of National Geographic Encounter. “Our goal is to create entertainment with a purpose and to provide an opportunity for guests to take individual pledges, make a difference in ocean conservation, and discover how everyone can be a champion for our oceans in everyday life.”
After World Oceans Day at Encounter and throughout the summer, Dopper Foundation’s Bridge will travel around New York City and visit several primary schools including The Earth School, P.S. 15 Patrick F. Daly School and McBurney YMCA Summer camp. The Plastic Bridge Project will educate hundreds of students about plastic pollution, using all kinds of art forms including classes with Asher Jay, a book reading of Stella & Stinky and the Plastic Soup, and a play by the theatre group Droogwater called “WOW, the sea is made of plastic.” The goal of the tour is to teach children about plastic pollution in a fun and interactive way and inspire them to make positives changes in their daily lives – from art to impact.
Next year on World Oceans Day, the Plastic Bridge Project will move to a different country to continue spreading the message throughout the globe.
“The Plastic Bridge Project and my installation, Message In a Bottle, at National Geographic Encounter use the same motif, a PET bottle, to convey the impact of consumer choices on our world’s oceans. We’re thrilled to collaborate with Dopper Foundation to strengthen the premise I created the work with. Individually we can tell stories, but together we can change the narrative. This is why we are also launching MakeYourOwnBottle.com today on World Oceans Day, a global platform where people can submit their own ‘Message in a Bottle.’ By World Oceans Day 2019, 365 days from the launch of the campaign, the most popular 365 bottles submitted by kids worldwide will be exhibited at Encounter,” said Asher Jay, National Geographic Explorer & Artist.
National Geographic Encounter helps to support the National Geographic Society’s critical works around the globe. By returning a portion of its proceeds to the non-profit work of the Society, National Geographic Partners contributes to the Society’s critical work of exploring, understanding and protecting our ocean through scientific grants and programs. To learn more, visit www.natgeo.com/info.