Stars including Jane Fonda, Jason Momoa, Joaquin Phoenix, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Rosario Dawson and Adam McKay are using their platforms to speak out about the climate crisis, joining Greenpeace USA to issue an open letter to President Biden calling for him to strengthen the United States’ position on the Global Plastics Treaty.
The letter, released ahead of the treaty negotiations that will resume in Paris from May 29 to June 2, urges the Biden Administration to support a legally binding treaty that caps and phases down plastic production, provides a just transition for workers in the plastics sectors and protects frontline communities.
“Plastics are killing us —and the planet. From the microplastics in our blood, to the plastic bottles clogging our oceans and beaches, to the oil and gas drilling used to make plastic. 99 percent of plastic is made from the fossil fuels that are poisoning people and driving global climate change, and yet corporations want to make more and more single use plastics, even though the truth is that only a tiny percentage of this plastic will ever be recycled,” Fonda said in a statement accompanying the letter. “The only real solution to this crisis is to stop making so much plastic in the first place. And that is why we are calling on world leaders gathered this week in Paris: Adopt a Global Plastic Treaty that caps plastic production. You have a once in a generation opportunity to turn off the plastic tap. We are counting on you. Our children and grandchildren are counting on you.”
Read the full letter below:
Dear President Biden,
We appreciate your leadership in securing a Global Oceans Treaty that creates a path to protecting 30 percent of our oceans by 2030. Winning the treaty was truly a historic moment, one of the greatest environmental achievements in history. Now we need your help to protect the planet from plastic pollution and lowering carbon emissions by supporting a strong Global Plastics Treaty.
At the end of May, delegates from around the world will convene in Paris for the second round of negotiations on a Global Plastics Treaty. While you have signaled support for this treaty, the US position is not yet strong enough. Currently, the US is not calling for a cap on plastic production – which is the only real way to stop plastic pollution. In 2021, the US only recycled a mere 5 percent of plastics produced. We will never be able to recycle our way out of the plastic pollution crisis we’ve created – this treaty must cap plastic production or it will not be successful. Similarly, the US must advocate for a legally binding treaty – not one that relies on countries to come up with their own plans for dealing with plastic waste. We’ve watched this method play out with the Paris Climate Agreement and to our extreme disappointment, it has not achieved a significant decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. You have the opportunity to do things differently this time around, and ensure a treaty that will have real impacts for frontline communities suffering the impacts of plastic pollution–and for the stability of the global climate upon which all life on Earth relies.
Plastics are polluting and harmful at every stage of their life cycle – from extraction to disposal. 99% of plastics come from fossil fuels; cutting plastic production will make a significant dent in carbon emissions. There are communities living next to refineries and petrochemical facilities who are bearing the combined brunt of the climate and plastic crises. People living near these facilities–overwhelmingly people of color–face higher rates of cancer, asthma, and adverse birth outcomes. No human life is disposable and their lives cannot continue to be harmed for the sake of unnecessary plastics. The recent chemical disasters in East Palestine, Ohio and Bucks County, Pennsylvania provide further evidence of why our continued reliance on plastics are harming our health and communities.
President Biden, you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help our climate, our oceans, and our communities this year by supporting a strong and ambitious Global Plastics Treaty. Recent polling shows that most voters are concerned about plastic pollution and its impact on our oceans and environment. We know you care about this issue and we were encouraged to see the initial steps you took in March by setting a goal to replace 90 percent of plastics with biomaterials, but this is not a real, lasting solution. Focusing on bioplastics and recycling would not address the root cause of the plastic pollution problem: we need to stop producing single-use plastics and switch to refill and reuse systems.
The decision you make on this critical issue will help define your legacy – will you be the President who helped put an end to the plastic pollution crisis, or someone who let it spiral further out of control? We’re calling on you to do the right thing.
Ebony Twilley Martin, Executive Director, Greenpeace USA
Rosanna Arquette, Actor and Activist
Alec Baldwin, Actor and Activist
Ed Begley, Actor and Activist
Camila Cabello, Singer and Songwriter
James Cromwell, Actor and Activist
Ted Danson, Actor
Rosario Dawson, Producer, Designer and Activist
Laura Dern, Actor
Billy Eichner, Actor, Writer and Producer
Shepard Fairey, Artist and Activist
Jane Fonda, Actor and Activist
Peter Gallagher, Actor
Kate Mara, Actress
Rooney Mara, Actress
Adam McKay, Filmmaker
Jason Momoa, Actor, Entrepreneur and Activist
Richa Moorjani, Actor and Activist
Piper Perabo, Actor
Joaquin Phoenix, Actor
June Diane Raphael, Actor
Susan Sarandon, Mother, Activist and Actress
Taylor Schilling, Actress
Kyra Sedgwick, Director and Actor
William Shatner, Actor
Mary Steenburgen, Actor
Amber Valletta, Model, Actress and Activist
Shailene Woodley, Actor and Advocate
Bonnie Wright, Actor and Author