Plastic Bridge Project – Meet Asher Jay

Asher Jay is an artist, National Geographic explorer and our secret crush. Why? Because she’s using art to inspire people to rethink their throwaway lifestyle. And because she upcycled single-use water bottles for her exhibition at the National Geographic Encounter. O, and the exhibition is called ‘Message in a bottle’. Sounds like a match for the Dopper Foundation, right? Coincidence? Probably, but you see why we just HAD TO collaborate with her on the Plastic Bridge Project!

The passion isn’t fashion

Asher Jay first started her career in fashion, but after a while she felt modelling wasn’t for her. ‘All my life I have been rescuing animals wherever I went. And I believe the child in you knows best. So I decided to follow my passion.’ Asher Jay is now creating art pieces, installations and more. Everything she does, is about wildlife conservation. ‘If you have a passion, you’ll do anything for it. You are completely focussed on your goal. I once jumped in a taxi with someone just to get a chance to talk to them and get my message across. That’s what passion makes you do.’ Her perseverance paid off. Apart from meeting awesome people, in taxi’s or otherwise, Asher Jay’s art was picked up on by National Geographic. In 2014 she was awarded the status of National Geographic Explorer, which means she is part of the explorer community, is hired for various expeditions, programs and speaking opportunities, and can apply for grants to amplify her outreach efforts.

The Police at the beach

‘While doing a beach cleanup in the Dominican Republic, I was listening to the song “message in a bottle”. And I started thinking I could upcycle single-use water bottles to deliver a message!’ The collaboration with National Geographic gave her another awesome opportunity: she was asked to host an exhibition of her work at New York’s National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey. Asher: ‘In the Post Show experience at the Ocean Odyssey you will encounter Message in a Bottle, a central display of cascading bottles. And some of these bottles contain recorded messages, human voices which form a sort of petition. It’s amazing that so many iconic names have lent their names to this project. People like Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford.’

The way we met

The first Dopper and Asher Jay encounter was during an event on tap water. Dopper’s Founder, Merijn was giving a talk and Asher was the moderator. ‘We got along really well. In fact, it inspired me, so after our meeting I created an upcycled bottle with a Dopper design!’ A year later, we tracked Asher Jay down and told her about our Plastic Bridge Project. She immediately wanted to join. Asher: ‘I believe that emotion drives human action, not reason. That is why I use art. The Plastic Bridge does the same thing. I am working together with the Dopper Foundation to reach as many of individuals as possible.’

Asher Jay made fifty upcycled single-use water bottles to go into the Plastic Bridge. But the collaboration goes further, she will also be joining the Dopper Foundation on their educational roadshow to give art classes and have kids upcycle a bottle themselves. This bottle will represent their last single-use water bottle. ‘I really enjoy involving kids. Even if they can’t vote yet, that doesn’t mean they can’t make a difference. They bring unlimited enthusiasm and are really ready to hit the ground running. When they care about an issue, they will come up with the most creative solutions!’

Make your own bottle

On World Ocean Day, June 8, the Plastic Bridge will be unveiled. But this day is also the kick off of Asher Jay’s platform: makeyourownbottle.com (live after June 8th). Asher: ‘It is a kid native platform. I want to let kids tell us what they care about, using art’. On this website, kids anywhere around the world can upload a photo of their own upcycled bottle. Asher: ‘There’s a map of the world on this platform, which will start out looking like plastic and crude oil: grey and black. The premise of that map has to change. When a kid submits his or her bottle online, their location will turn blue. The more kids participate, the more blue the map will become. It will turn into the blue marble I dream about.’ The Dopper Foundation helps to give this platform a good start: hundreds of upcycled bottles are created during activitations for the Plastic Bridge Project, for instance during King’s Day and at the YMCA Summer Camp.

All bottles that are uploaded can be voted on. And after one year, on World Ocean Day 2019 (June 8th), the top 365 bottles will be chosen and displayed on the screens of Times Square Plaza for the next year, one bottle a day. Asher: ‘This way kids will see that their voices have an immediate impact. No matter how young you are, your bottle, and your message, will reach hundreds of thousands of people!’

 

OUR PROJECT – PLASTIC BRIDGE

Every 30 seconds 25,000 P.E.T. bottles are purchased in the U.S. alone and they ultimately make their way to our oceans. At Dopper, our dream is crystal clear water from every ocean to every tap. Which is why this year, Dopper Foundation is building bridges to a P.E.T. free world. Starting with a replica of one of the most iconic landmarks in NYC: The Brooklyn Bridge. In collaboration with artist Colin Hendee, the Dopper Foundation is building a bridge made out of P.E.T. bottles, collected by the people of NYC. But our initiative goes further, because we are also creating an educational movement, teaching children about the effects of single-use plastic on our oceans and ourselves.

Support us now: plasticbridge.org

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