The Inertia

Everyone’s depressed in Jack Johnson’s film Smog of the Sea, which launched online for all to watch today. At the invitation of acclaimed marine scientist, Marcus Eriksen, a gaggle of ocean enthusiasts including Jack Johnson, bodysurfer Mark Cunningham, surfers Dan and Keith Malloy, and spearfisher Kimi Werner each come to realize that even the furthest reaches of the ocean aren’t immune to plastic pollution.

Eriksen employs his guests to separate plastic from natural ocean debris they collect in samples aboard their ship in the middle of the ocean. Days from land, the crew is amazed at the quantity of plastic they find.

“I’m glad I packed extra anti-depressants on this trip,” says Cunningham. He goes on to explain that on his local shoreline, he’s accustomed to seeing plastic debris, but miles away from the coast, an area he pictured as being clean and natural, he never expected to find plastic. Jack Johnson, Kimi Werner, and the Malloy brothers all express a similar sentiment. It’s the smog of the sea, explains the film. And it’s problematic not just for sea life, but for humans as well. Smaller marine life consumes the plastic and it goes up the food chain.

It’s this very issue that inspired Johnson to write his newest tune, that dropped today, called “Fragments.”

The lyrics for the track are direct, if not equally depressing: “Fragments on the sea, birds of prey above/ All that lies beneath, no longer what it was.” But if anything, the song, along with the film, are two swift kicks in the pants for humanity – evidence of the dangers of the ubiquitous nature of plastics in our modern society. It’s an issue Johnson’s been passionate about for over a decade, and one that he’s chosen to address even in the way he tours the country to promote his music.

“Since 2005, Johnson’s crew has implemented a plastic free backstage and since 2007 all shows have offered fans free water through water-refill stations,” explains a press release about his upcoming North America tour. “In addition to these plastic free initiatives, Johnson and his production team, alongside Reverb, will continue to pave the way in green touring practices with extensive sustainability programs at every show. On the 2017 tour, additional greening actions include sourcing sustainable biodiesel for tour vehicles, producing upcycled and eco-friendly merchandise, and expanding waste reduction, composting and recycling.”

It’s sad, sure, to see how plastic continues to threaten the natural world. And we have only ourselves to blame. But there are strategies to limit plastic use and consumption to minimize your individual footprint. Not to mention, through film, music, and additional awareness campaigns, humanity is becoming more aware of the detrimental impact plastic is having not just on the environment, but on us.

Learn more at smogofthesea.com.


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