– Written by Environmental Defence’s Engagement Coordinator Daniella Niddery

Jack Johnson’s 2017 summer tour hit Toronto’s Budweiser Stage on Sunday night and I was there with another member of our Outreach Team—and not just to listen to the great music.

The tour—organized by Jack’s All at Once Community—supports local and national non-profits leading plastic free initiatives. At the concerts, fans are able to speak with different groups, take environmental action, and learn about the importance of taking action before the show. And Environmental Defence was one of the charities invited to participate at the concert in Toronto.

Jack Johnson summer tour poster

Before opening the doors to the public, our team was surprised to receive a personal welcome from Jack (who, in addition to being a talented singer-songwriter and surfer, is also a philanthropist). He humbly met with each organization, learned about their cause and graciously thanked each one for their work and attendance at his event. And he happily posed for a few group photos!

Jack Johnson posing for a photo with Environmental Defence outreach staff
Jack Johnson chatting with Environmental Defence staff
Jack Johnson chatting with Environmental Defence staff

The Outreach Team then engaged with fans and talked with them about the ways we can all safeguard our precious water sources. Our massive water bottle display—a metal piece of art filled with plastic bottles—was a huge hit! Concert goers gathered around, examined, estimated, calculated and guessed how many single-use plastic bottles were inside for a chance to win one of four reusable Klean Kanteen prize packs.

More importantly, they had an opportunity to learn about our Cash it, Don’t Trash it campaign to make a deposit return program for plastic bottles a reality in Ontario. Plastic pollution is out of control in our waterways, including the Great Lakes where 80 per cent of the litter is plastic. And a deposit return program is a proven way to increase recycling rates and reduce litter.

Environmental Defence booth at the June 4 Jack Johnson concert
Environmental Defence booth at the June 4 Jack Johnson concert

This campaign complements the work that Jack is also doing to stop plastic pollution. In addition to his tour, which is raising awareness about this issue, he participated in a documentary called the Smog of the Sea. The film chronicles a one week journey through the remote waters of the Sargasso Sea. Jack becomes a citizen scientist and joins marine scientist Marcus Eriksen to study the fog of microplastics that permeate the world’s oceans.

Thank you to Jack and the All at Once Community for inviting us to be part of the Toronto show, for supporting our work, and for the great work you are  doing to support plastic free initiatives.