National Geographic has joined forces with innovation consultancy R/GA, inviting Australians to submit ideas about how to tackle the problem of plastic waste that is despoiling the country’s coastline and marine life.

The two organisations have established a new platform, called Make Good, which aims to address humanitarian, societal and environmental challenges through innovation.

“Tapping into Australia’s latent creativity and expertise, the Make Good project is currently inviting Australians to put their best idea forward to defy plastic and reverse the harm it is inflicting on our oceans,” National Geographic said in a statement.

Individuals or teams are being asked to submit their ideas by 15th May and then a panel of experts from National Geographic and R/GA will select the strongest entries by 17th May.

Successful entrants will then be asked to attend a three-day innovation lab that will run during this year’s Semi Permanent festival in Sydney from 23rd to 25th May, which for the first time will be a plastic-free event.

At its conclusion, one idea will be chosen and showcased live at Semi Permanent, featured in National Geographic and further developed through ongoing R/GA mentorship, B&T reported.

“The goal of Make Good is to stimulate new ways of thinking and support young changemakers whose ideas could help address problems they’ve been unlucky enough to inherit,” said Drew Klonsky, executive director of R/GA Australia.

“By partnering with National Geographic, a company synonymous with preserving, protecting and advancing our understanding of the planet, we hope to shine a light on amazing, transformational ideas and help take them to the next level,” he added.

Potential applicants are being asked to think through early-stage ideas that either reduce plastic consumption through behavioural change, revive coastlines by removing plastic waste or keeping it out of oceans, or redesign existing products and services to be plastic-free.

“Big, complicated environmental issues like plastic pollution rarely have an obvious fix,” said Sam Boynton, senior manager of business development and partnerships at National Geographic.

“But we strongly believe that projects like Make Good can serve as a powerful means to identify, develop and scale solutions that may otherwise have gone uninvented.”

Sourced from National Geographic, R/GA, B&T; additional content by WARC staff