Freeing the Ocean from human threats can seem overwhelming The drivers are so deeply woven into the way we all live and work that change can seem unimaginable. We need to overcome this complex situation so that governments, industry and all of us in society can take the urgent action needed to solve these threats. 

There have been efforts to simplify the situation by breaking down the Ocean threats by industry at source or by solution types. But what if we could use our imagination to come up with a more effective way to disentangle the complexity of Ocean threats? 

This is what motivated us, at Ocean Generation, to begin developing a new approach that distils Ocean threats into human behaviour types. Our Ocean Intelligence toolset aims to bridge the gap between people-led ocean action and institutional system change. 

Why start with plastic pollution? 

The change momentum that we helped create as Plastic Oceans, gives us confidence that starting with Plastic Intelligence can help create a powerful springboard for taking on wider Ocean action.   

Our ‘Plastic Intelligence’ concept is developed as a prototype for future Ocean Intelligence tools. To be best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to align the human behaviours that drive plastic pollution with practical solutions that work at individual, organisational and societal level. 

Why Plastic Intelligence  

Plastic intelligence’ is an initial working title coming from us asking ‘What’s the intelligent approach? What’s the most intelligent solution we can imagine?’. The Plastic Intelligence narrative provides a logical change journey. It is meant to spark a conversation, to increase understanding, and for tailored solutions to local contexts.  

The phrase is intended to be aspirational, without being misleading or alarmist and we plan to develop or adapt the Plastic Intelligence concept further in collaboration with partners going forward. So, would you be interested? 

Why a framework?  

Since our launch as Plastic Oceans in 2009, we have observed Ocean plastic pollution as an increasingly global debate but with two polarising themes – from an oversimplified plastic-free perspective all the way to a sophisticated mix of system change and circular economy concepts which many find unfathomable. 

People and institutions alike are struggling to bridge this gap and understand the overwhelming amount of plastic pollution issues and solutions coming their way and how they often contradict each other. A framework approach embraces that reality without making it too overwhelming to engage with. It also embraces the fact that the responsibility for tackling Ocean threats is shared unevenly across different parts of society – providing an alignment tool to close the gap between people-led Ocean action and institutional system change.  

Why this Plastic Intelligence Framework? 

Our Plastic Intelligence Framework provides a foundation  for understanding plastic pollution prevention from a behaviour change lens that can be applied to all levels of society - from individuals to institutions. Its aim is to enable everyone to discover their role and see how aligned and complementary individual and organisational actions can be.  

By using the framework, any person and any institution will work with the same group of behaviours, capturing all unique interactions with plastic that contribute to ocean pollution. In this way, different sectors of society can truly come together on changing the same behaviour types and meet each other halfway  whether they’re running local plastic-free initiatives, systemic policy change campaigns or multi-year circular economy programmes. 

Why get involved now? 

Our Plastic Intelligence programme is developed collaboratively with other partners. We are sharing it now as a ‘work in progress’ to invite people and organisations across society to help us test and improve it. We welcome diverse perspectives and feedback and trials are adaptable to work well for individuals, community groups and institutions anywhere in the world – even during a pandemic lockdown.  

Dive in and consider joining our informal think tank group! 

Click here  

Special thanks 

We are truly grateful to Simon Usher, former CEO of Plastic Oceans, for the insightful input into the design of the Plastic Intelligence framework