SEATTLE, Washington — Shailene Woodley is an Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated American actress and producer. She is famous for her role in television shows and movies like The Fault in Our Stars, the Divergent series and the Secret Life of an American Teenager. Along with her successful profession, she also works to protect the environment through advocacy.
Woodley’s Reasons for Being an Environmentalist
As someone who one day hopes to become a mother, Woodley wants to set a positive example of someone who is trying to make the world a better place. She chose to become an activist for the environment because she was concerned about how ocean pollution impacts the food and oxygen on the planet since 50% of the oxygen comes from the ocean.
She also believes that environmentalism is directly related to racism, sexism, LGBTQ rights, Native American sovereignty and any issue that deals with money and class, including global poverty. By advocating to protect the environment, Woodley helps marginalized groups as environmental injustice tends to affect these groups the most.
Dakota Access Pipeline
On Oct. 10, 2016, which was Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Woodley joined 200 protestors to voice her opinion against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. According to Energy Transport Pipelines, the company responsible for the project, this $3.7 billion investment would help the economy in the area and provide a far safer method to transport oil in comparison to rail and road.
However, many environmental activists say that transporting 570,000 oil barrels a day would destroy the waterways and historic Native American sites. While Woodley recorded her experience protesting for more than 40,000 of her followers on Facebook Live, she was one of 27 people arrested for criminal trespassing. This made national headlines not only because she was protesting for a good cause but also because most people who participated beside her faced no charges. Since then, the Obama Administration prevented the company from drilling. However, the Trump Administration has allowed it to continue.
Woodley partnered with Greenpeace, the largest environmental NGO in the world, to study the impacts of plastics and pollution on marine life in the Sargasso Sea located in the North Atlantic Ocean. By documenting her experience, she hoped to build support for the Global Ocean Treaty that aims to bring more than 190 countries together to save 30% of the world’s seas by 2030. Although negotiations for the treaty are still underway, there is no doubt that her work built worldwide support for this cause.
In 2019, Woodley teamed up with American Express and Parley for the Oceans to combat plastic pollution. She believes it is important to work with large corporations to make the world a better place. As a part of this partnership, American Express started #BackOurOceans. The initiative helps American Express consumers participate in a discussion about the importance of saving oceans. Through the campaign, people can share their stories and tag friends and family to get involved too.
For every comment posted on the American Express Instagram post explaining the initiative between Sept. 16 to Sept. 23, 2019, American Express worked with Parley for the Oceans to plastic from beaches. American Express also promised to redesign its Green Card to be made from plastic on beaches and islands. Furthermore, it will provide planet-friendly options to recycle the cards when they expire or are canceled. This will inevitably help them reach their goal of removing one million pounds of plastic from the ocean.
Woodley’s work to protect the environment has resulted in incredible success as an environmental activist around the world. Her contributions will inevitably make the world a better place, and hopefully, inspire others to do the same.
– Rida Memon
Photo: Wikimedia Commons