Jack Johnson draws attention to the perils of single-use plastic on marine life. 

By Rebecca Angel Baer
June 07, 2018
K. Johnson

Today is World Oceans Day and one of our favorite Ocean Heroes took to social media to urge his fans to join him in further efforts to protect and save our precious oceans.


Jack Johnson visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium and in a Facebook LiveStream, he showed us the ways in which plastic is drastically harming our oceans and the marine life that live both above and below the water’s surface.


Johnson chose to use the single use plastic art exhibit within the aquarium as the venue for his live stream. When the video begins, the Hawaiian born singer-songwriter was standing in front of a beautiful piece of art by artist Chris Jordon, but he explained that if you look closely, you can see the material used to make this picture wasn’t water color or oil paint, or any usual art medium. It was all made of tiny particles of micro-plastic that pollute the oceans all over the globe.


Referencing the artwork behind and all around him in the gallery he said “It’s a great place to start that conversation about what we can all do in our own lives to try to keep the ocean beautiful for generations to come.”


Then Johnson introduced the pals he brought along with him— Nicky Partain from the aquarium and Makana the Albatross. Makana, whose name means gift in Hawaiian, is a Laysan albatross, a seabird that mostly calls the Pacific Ocean surrounding Hawaii home and relies on the sea to provide her meals. But more and more, these birds are ingesting plastic—either micro-plastic or objects that haven’t yet broken down like bottle caps to plastic soda bottles. Changing our habits and reducing the amount of single-use plastic in our daily lives could greatly improve the lives of the albatross and other sea creatures.


Partain then held up a cylinder shaped container that held all of the different kinds of plastic that was found inside one albatross chick. The items ranged from bottle caps to small lighters.

“You know if it’s an item you are going to use once and then throw away, there may be a better option out there.”

She then suggested we switch to reusable water bottles and to bring our own green bags to the grocery store. She also touched on something we can all do that you may not be thinking about.

“Another thing we’re trying to encourage people to do is skip the straw. When you go to a restaurant and order a beverage, say no thank you to the straw. That’s one less piece of plastic that we don’t need but also stays out of the wild,” Partain said.


WATCH: Meet Our 2017 Ocean Heroes

Next, Johnson introduced us to two teenagers who are making waves in ocean conservation in their own right. Jack Johnston (Johnson with a T, Johnson pointed out) and Alex Weber have shone a light on yet another peril to the world’s oceans that most probably aren’t even aware is happening.

Weber described the unusual item she found on a free dive with her dad off the coast of Carmel.

“We dropped our faces into the water expecting to see the glorious Carmel sea floor…but all we see is plastic,” she said.

“The entire sea floor was completely white. And I felt like as a human, I was a part of the problem,” Weber continued.

The white Webber and her dad saw that day was a sea of golf balls. Right away the pair began picking up the balls. They collected 1500 golf balls that day and when they returned two weeks later, they gathered 2000 more.

After the return trip, Webber called her friend Jack Johnston and said “We’ve got to do something about this.”

Johnston said “Looking down at that was just like a punch in the gut.”

For the next two years the two teens continued to dive and retrieve golf balls. They collected 40,000 golf balls.

Weber then showed how the balls break down when they are submerged underwater.

“One golf ball like this has 275 yards of rubber band inside of it,” Webber explained. Once those rubber bands are exposed, they begin to resemble sea grass, which is why so many fish and other marine life are consuming them by mistake.


Watch the full video from today’s event here:


Ridding the ocean of pollution is not a new fight for Johnson. He has long voiced his passion for saving the planet he loves so much. Along with producing documentaries shining a light on the issue, Johnson has led efforts in the music industry to rid venues of single use plastic.


“Now on the east shore of any island in Hawaii, if you dig down and you start taking scoops of sand and you look the makeup of it, it’s bright, bright because it’s sand and also plastic mixed in. So for me, to grow up loving the ocean and surfing these spots my whole life, and to see something I love so much turning to plastic—and then on the other side to be a part of an industry, you know as I tour around there is a lot of single use plastic used at the venues. And it breaks my heart to know that I’m bringing people to a show and that’s happening. So that’s how we got really involved in trying to change the industry,” Johnson explained.


“I had two choices. It was either stop doing what I’m doing or try and focus and make this a better version of what I’m doing.”

Johnson has led by example for others in the music industry, even citing that last year at the Santa Barbara bowl they had a 100% plastic free show.

Today, on World Oceans Day, how will you join Johnson’s efforts and reduce your usage of single-use plastic? We are putting down the straws for good.