Weekend Heller: Oceans Yes, Plastic No!

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“All life comes from the sea,” says Helmut Langer, a specialist in cultural, environmental, institutional, and social communications projects, and creator of multicultural and global communications projects of international signification, e.g. for several UN organisations including UNESCO, UNEP, UNFCCC, UNISDR and European institutions. “Every second breath is fed from the oceans. Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is water—our blue planet.” As plastic pollution continues to advance, scientists predict that by 2030, more plastic than fish will float in the oceans. Fish and seabirds eat the plastic parts and die a cruel death. Recently scientists have detected plastic in the fish we eat.

Langer collaborated with designers in a global students communication project OCEAN POSTERS against plastic pollution. The students represented 34 universities and academies from all five continents. “It is a fantastic multi-cultural communication project. I received from around the world exciting posters – the visual voice of the youth of the world to save the oceans.” The international Students Poster Project SAVE THE OCEANSStop Plastic Pollution, curated by Langer, was chosen for exhibition in the United Nations NY Headquarters during the UN Ocean Conference in Fall 2017.

“The [poster] project was established in collaboration with professor colleagues, which I personally know, have worked with or have been recommended. It was not a general tender. The project was started in November 2016. Deadline was the end of December 2017,” Langer says.

Flores Velasco Luis, Mexico City.

Angelina Bange, Köln, Germany

I spoke further with Langer about the undertaking:

What triggered this poster project?The dramatic situation of the plastic pollution of the oceans. 150 Mio t of plastic garbage are swimming in the oceans. That is a fright train full of plastic waste as long as from the earth to the moon and return!

What will you do with the posters?Exhibitions around the world—publicly, e.g., in city halls etc., and professionally, e.g., at conferences, Biennials and Triennials, ocean events, e.g., Month of the Sea in Chile in May. The exhibitions should generate press coverage. And a catalogue if sponsorship is available.

Do you believe there will be any positive results from a number of posters?Yes, the strong images will raise awareness and encourage sustainable thinking and behavior—hopefully … It is also a teaching tool at the participating universities when students can see the results from the others.

The ones I’ve seen are important reminders. For you, what makes a good poster?A good poster must be simple and clear, not more than three elements. E.g., the poster from Uruguay with the fish hanging on a plastic straw formed as a hook (Design Victoria Gutiérrez), it says everything—without any text. Formula “KISS” as Paul Rand was promoting it: Keep it stupid simple.

Meri Aisala, Rovaniemi, Lapland.

Yue Zhong, Hangzhou, China.

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