An episode of ACTIVATE: The Global Citizen Movement, Global Citizen’s documentary series created in partnership with P&G, National Geographic, and Radical Media, has won an Environmental Media Association (EMA) Documentary Series Award. 

The 2020 EMA Virtual Awards celebrate environmental messaging in the media in categories including feature films, television dramas, documentaries, and more.  

The winning episode, “ACTIVATE: Ending Plastic Pollution,” highlights how pollution contributes to environmental degradation and reinforces the cycle of poverty. The episode follows Global Citizen policy advocates and actor Darren Criss as they travel to the Philippines to investigate  the devastating impact of plastic pollution on the country. Artist, activist, and Global Citizen Advocate Pharrell Williams is also featured, as he joins Global Citizen’s efforts to get governments, private companies, and individuals to take action to tackle plastic pollution.   

Criss gave a speech at the EMA Virtual Awards on Aug. 21 to accept the Documentary Series Award and thanked the Global Citizen team and on-the-ground activists for their advocacy work. 

“There are so many people who have devoted their lives to taking real action to fight this almost insurmountable task of ending plastic pollution and reforming waste management and taking real steps to look after our planet,” he said. “It’s all very inspiring. So I want to thank the EMAs on behalf of those people, because they are the real superstars.”

ACTIVATE, a six-part series that aired on National Geographic last year, raises awareness around extreme poverty, inequality, and sustainability issues to mobilize people to take action and drive meaningful change. Each episode follows a specific Global Citizen campaign and the on-the-ground impact. 

Image: Ryan Gall/Global Citizen

Plastic that isn’t properly collected ends up in rivers and ocean, while also creating adverse effects on the world’s poorest populations. In the Philippines, for example, environmental activists have spent almost two decades working to solve the country’s trash problem, but insufficient waste management systems and lax implementation of local laws means many communities “leak” plastic at alarming rates.

“ACTIVATE: Ending Plastic Pollution” draws attention to these issues while encouraging Global Citizens around the world to call on their leaders to create more sustainable plastic disposal systems. As a recipient of the prestigious EMA Documentary Series Award, the episode was recognized as an authentic call to action for an end to ocean plastic pollution. 

If you haven’t seen the ACTIVATE series yet, click here to watch.

Click here to read more about Global Citizen’s partnership with P&G. 


Defend the Planet

Global Citizen’s ACTIVATE Series Wins Environmental Media Award

By Liza Gellerman