New York

Insta-Friendly NYC Pop-Up Museum Engages Youth in Ocean Health Activism

What to Know

  • Ocean health organization Lonely Whale opened a pop-up museum aimed at eliminating single-use plastic water bottles this past weekend
  • Organizers aimed to make the museum an Instagram-friendly space and engage a young audience
  • Using colorful graphics and star-powered PSA's, the pop-up showed the poor current state of ocean health and provided easy solutions

Pay Fyre Fest debt. End world hunger for one year. Get 50,000 tickets to a private Beyoncé show. These are just a few things consumers, as a united front, could do with the nearly $200 billion revenue earned from single-use plastic water bottles per year.

A pop-up museum held in SoHo this past weekend aimed to educate New Yorkers about eliminating plastic pollution resulting from single-use plastic water bottles through comparisons like these -- and a giant receipt.

Visitors could look at a billboard-sized receipt of alternative purchases, along with other interactive art installations, at the Museum of Plastic -- an Instagram-friendly, socially conscious pop-up museum.

Visitor Vashti Harrison, 31, said she liked how it used “highly Instagrammable” aesthetics to connect regular people to the movement. “Something that’s really hard about fighting plastic pollution and climate change is this feeling that it’s so big and it’s so hard for the individual to deal with,” Harrison said. “So coming to a place like this is a nice reminder that people want to talk about it and people want to get engaged.”

Lonely Whale, the ocean health organization hosting the pop-up, is also behind the global shift from single-use plastic straws to paper and metal alternatives with their 2016 Strawless Ocean Initiative and #StopSucking campaign. You can thank it for your Nitro lid at Starbucks.

Taking a cue from trendy, aesthetically-pleasing pop-ups like The Museum of Ice Cream or the Rosé Mansion, Lonely Whale created the Museum of Plastic to perk up the typically depressing, daunting conversation around pollution in an entertaining, light-hearted way.

And the pop-up brought star power, too. Zooey Deschanel could be found in a stack of television sets delivering a 90s-inspired public service announcement about how outdated single-use plastics are, while Riverdale star Hayley Law spoke on another TV about how she drinks water.

The museum's Insta-friendly themed spaces encouraged millenials and Gen Z-ers to share its message on their social media accounts while challenging them to consider their purchasing power and environmental impact.

“Our pop-up museum is for good,” Lonely Whale’s Emma Riley said. “We’re asking consumers to engage with a lifestyle that will positively impact the planet, and that is unique in itself… but we’re asking consumers to have fun and enjoy themselves while choosing an alternative to the single-use plastic water bottle.”

Take the pledge to #HydrateLike the ocean depends on it here

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