Wild success of 'Attenborough effect' in curbing single use plastic.

To me, I think people who don't think it's a big deal to toss a plastic bottle in the garbage are not only being irresponsible, but I think they're being disrespectful of all the other humans on earth. - Sophia Bush

A report by GlobalWebIndex claims that awareness raising initiatives over the last 12 months including 'David Attenborough's well acclaimed TV series Blue Planet 2 and Our Planet, released on Netflix are having positive impact in changing people's behavior making them more conscious of the waste they produce.

GlobalWebIndex surveyed 3,833 consumers from across the UK and US – it found more than half of consumers have reduced the amount of single use plastic they are using in the last year and noted 80% of British people who said they valued sustainable packaging were concerned about the future of the environment.

The report highlights that while 83% of people between the age of 55 and 64 thought affordability was important, only 63% of those aged between 16 and 24 thought it was a barrier to going green. It suggests this may be because younger generations have been more exposed to television shows and online content showing the damaging effects of marine waste and plastic menace.

Chase Buckle, Trends Manager at GlobalWebIndex, said: “It may come as a shock to some that the younger consumers are more considerate about sustainable materials than older generations. “What is important to note, is that the younger generations grew up during the height of the sustainability crisis with high-profile, environmentalist documentaries widely available on the content platforms they prefer over conventional TV.”

David Attenborough

Citing David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II and Netflix’s Our Planet as key influencers to consumer trends on social media, Buckle added that: “There is an opportunity for brands to capitalise on consumer perceptions surrounding sustainable packaging of products. Managing these different pressures is no small hurdle for manufacturers and brands to overcome. Sustainability isn’t just another buzzword. Consumers genuinely care, and they’re expecting more from brands than ever before thanks to social media reinforcing a culture of accountability among businesses.”

Plastics are a product of the fossil fuel industry. Not only is the fossil fuel industry the most polluting industry in the world and largely responsible for climate change; it’s also driving the plastics boom. Oil being such an important force for countries all over the world (especially in developing nations). It is high time considering other efficient energy substitutes beyond fossil fuels like nuclear or uranium or any renewable medium. Even reduction in fossil fuel extraction can reduce the plastic menace.

Along with all the recent developments and the success of the “Attenborough Effect” in the U.S. and in Europe, it is important to look towards Asia as well where the major chunk of plastic pollution is created. Eye opening TV series like Blue Planet 2 and Our Planet have to be aired in the local languages and shown to budding citizens in schools as students are more susceptible to new ideas.

It is not just plastic pollution but a range of issues which are interconnected in many ways requiring immediate attention. The world is entering a new era in its relationship with plastic. What was once considered a miracle is now world’s worst enemy. I wish the “Attenborough’s Effect” catches up to the people in Asia as well, where the real plastic culprit resides.

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