— Vaughn Wallace (@vaughnwallace) May 16, 2018
The newest cover of National Geographic is set to become one for the ages. As the world continues to drown in single-use plastic, the iconic magazine has launched a multi-year initiative called Planet or Plastic? The newly unveiled June 2018 cover illustration by Jorge Gamboa is a heartbreaking visualization of the reality we're collectively facing.
The digital illustration, titled Iceberg Plástico, shows a plastic bag submerged deep into the ocean, with just the “tip of the iceberg” peering above. The simple, direct message and metaphor is a striking commentary on the public's awareness of the issue and the fact that many don't understand the impact of plastic on the environment. The Mexican artist first created the photo-illustration in 2017 for Bolivia's Biennial of Poster Art, where it took home first prize in the political and social posters field.
With the reactions the cover is already receiving, Gamboa's work has certainly struck a chord. And it also heralds a turning point for National Geographic, which has now switched to paper packaging over a plastic wrapper for subscribers in the US, UK, and India. Global subscribers will receive paper instead of plastic by the end of 2019.
We can all help fix the plastic apocalypse. As a first step, we're getting rid of the plastic wrappers around our magazine—and launching a multiyear campaign to raise awareness and encourage consumers to act. https://t.co/3DCcoNXB12 #PlanetOrPlastic
— National Geographic (@NatGeoMag) May 16, 2018
The issue's interior matches its exterior, focusing heavily on the impact of single-use plastic, including an article titled We Made Plastic. We Depend on It. Now We're Drowning in It. In the article, journalist Laura Parker looks at the history of plastic and how we came to find ourselves in this difficult situation. By leveraging the expertise of National Geographic‘s explorers and scientists, who are witnessing the plastic crisis in real time, the magazine also revealed a $10 million partnership with Sky Media to help eradicate ocean plastic.
What can you do? First, take the Planet or Plastic? pledge to reduce your personal usage of single-use plastic. Second, continue to educate yourself on how plastic is impacting our planet so you can properly make choices and become an advocate against plastic pollution.
National Geographic‘s June 2018 cover, created by Jorge Gamboa, is quickly becoming iconic for it's clear, direct message about the plastic pollution crisis.
Whoa. I’m speechless at this cover. I can’t wait for my issue to arrive and I’m so glad to see this topic getting this kind of coverage.
— Rebecca Basu (@RebBasu) May 17, 2018
— Angela Sun (@sunnyangela) May 17, 2018
— bakedtoimperfection (@chonniebakes) May 17, 2018
— Gerald Butts 🇨🇦 (@gmbutts) May 16, 2018
As soon as my toddler saw this issue arrive in the mail, she picked it up, brought it to me and sat in my lap, asking me to read as if it were a bedtime story… Very powerful work.
— Thomas Patterson (@pattersonphoto) May 16, 2018
The magazine's Planet or Plastic? initiative is already causing reaction and reflection on what we can do to help can cultural attitudes about single-use plastic.
This cover is so impactful! Great work! I’m proud to work at @shedd_aquarium where we have joined this effort to reduce plastic pollution and got rid of single use plastic straws and bags! #sheddthestraw
— Nicole Minadeo (@NicoleMinadeo) May 18, 2018
Good one sir. We are trying to avoid plastic as much as we can.. and everyone should take pledge to get rid of this habit of using plastic for everything.. and go for biodegradable stuff.!! #saveearth from pollution.
— Hamsalekha Narla (@hamsalekhanarla) May 16, 2018
— Rachael Bale (@Rachael_Bale) May 16, 2018
— Marie McGrory (@MarieMcG23) May 16, 2018
Brilliant! We gotta find a solution and fight against plastic collectively. Can there be a substitute for plastic with a different one-time use? Pretty sure we are smart enough to find a solution #PlanetorPlastic
— Igor Pisarenko (@IgorPissarenko) May 17, 2018