In conversation with Planet Patrol: The story and motivation behind the organisation.
Coinciding with World Ocean Day on June 8 we are launching our campaign “Perspectives of Pioneers” for our new special edition „Lotte & Hans“. NEUBAU EYEWEAR has created a homage to the fascinating world of the oceans and is calling on us to conserve and protect them.
In the course of this campaign, under the title #NEUBAUpioneers, we are joining forces with Planet Patrol to launch an international litter picking initiative, with the goal of minimizing litter both on land and in the oceans.
Planet Patrol was set up in 2016 and we have already made great strides to remove litter from over 80 countries around the world. Planet Patrol exists to protect our planet and wildlife by addressing the pressing threats of litter and the single-use culture. We are a community-focused, solution-orientated, non-profit organisation: a movement of people working for a cleaner future. We took a look behind the minds of Planet Patrol and asked all the questions we always wanted to ask.
What exactly does Planet Patrol do?
Planet Patrol is a global non-profit sitting at the intersection of environment and wellbeing. Our mission is to eliminate single-use materials and litter, and we do this through community action and citizen science. One of our main areas of work is running clean ups all over the world, but it's not your standard litter picking. We combine litter picking with activities, like paddleboarding, yoga, plogging, parkour - whilst also recording litter that’s collected through our free app.
What is your founding story?
In 2016 Founder, Lizzie Carr, became the first person in history to paddleboard the length of England's waterways, solo and unsupported to raise awareness of plastic pollution. Along the 400 mile journey, she catalogued more than 20,000 examples of litter. Lizzie has gone on to complete a further two world first endurance challenges and set up Planet Patrol to continue her mission. We provide ways for people all over to get involved in protecting the planet through activity based litter picking as well a number of other programmes.
What is Planet Patrol’s motivation?
The motivation for Planet Patrol is our community and the collective power we have to bring about positive environmental change for a more sustainable future.
How much waste items do you collect per year?
Since Planet Patrol started in 2016, we’ve removed over 500 tonnes of waste from nature. Everyone who joins our activity based clean ups pays their 'nature tax' by recording everything they collect in the Planet Patrol app. To date over 350,000 pieces of litter have been recorded in across 83 countries. You can get involved as a citizen scientist by downloading the Planet Patrol app via the app store and recording litter you see.
What happens with the data you generate through your app?
Data is crucial for the work Planet Patrol does but its value is often underestimated in litter picking. We prioritise data collection and see it as an important tool to inform industry and government, helping to find solutions based on real-time insight. Volunteers across the world use the free Planet Patrol app to record all the litter they see by type, brand, amount and location (which is automatically geo-tagged) for our scientists to identify trends and patterns in both litter and human behaviours.
Data is evidence. Litter picking alone will never solve this problem, it must be coupled with data collection to get to the source of the problem and address it at the level required. You can read our annual litter reports here.
What is your suggestion for keeping our oceans/ planet clean?
Litter and plastic pollution is, put simply, a design fault. As individuals, we can reuse or refuse single-use products, but what we need to see is more investment in design innovation from industry to provide genuinely sustainable alternatives that are accessible to the mainstream to make a difference on a bigger scale.
We also need to see governmental policies that support industry improvements, as well as improved waste management infrastructure globally.
How can someone support you?
Planet Patrol is all about people power and our impact has all been due to the incredible Planet Patrol community. How you can get involved: - Download the Planet Patrol app for free. When you see litter, take a photo and tag the type and brand to help build the biggest global pollution database: https://planetpatrol.co/download-our-app/-
- Join a Planet Patrol clean up or organise your own: https://planetpatrol.co/clean-ups/
- Donate to help Planet Patrol protect nature: https://planetpatrol.co/donate/
- Follow us on social media and help spread the word: https://www.instagram.com/onplanetpatrol/
Use your skills and what you are good at to support issues you care about. Whether you're good at art, sports, spreadsheets, public speaking, there are so many ways that you can support existing organisations or educate/raise awareness about key issues and solutions and we are always looking for eager volunteers.
What are Planet Patrol’s future goals?
Our goal is to record one million pieces of litter in the Planet Patrol app - we're at 350,000 pieces currently, so over one-third of the way there! We also have lots of exciting campaigns planned, informed by the data gathered by our community. Stay tuned!
What does “Perspectives of Pioneers” mean to you?
Planet Patrol is centred on community - it's at the heart of everything. Whilst it all started with Founder Lizzie Carr - on a one-woman crusade to tackle plastic pollution from a paddle board by doing a number of endurance challenges - in the last five years it's grown into a global movement with more than 25,000 volunteers around the world. For Planet Patrol, ‘Perspectives of Pioneers’ is about every member of our community, together we’ve got a pioneering movement, it’s not about the individual.
Deep ocean, infinite black or paradise blue?