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Mon 19 Sep 2022 | by Rob Hutchins

WWF steps into Metaverse to fight real world plastic waste crisis

In a new first for an NGO, the nature conservation group WWF has stepped into the Metaverse to drive climate change action and protect the Earth’s biodiversity. Launched to coincide with World Cleanup Day last week (September 17th), WWF partnered with the artist group Savespecies and Germany’s Publicis Groupe to introduce a digital exhibition space it has called #OceanDetox. The space aims to draw attention to the global plastic waste crisis and support cleanup and environmental protection measures around the world. Users can explore the virtual world online at www.Saveyour.worldwhere they can view a digital exhibition that includes a whale composed of 50 floating plastic waste objects. Digital artwork such as this can be purchased with proceeds going to support the work of the WWF to combat plastic waste around the world. The visual design was headed up by the digital artist Etienne Kiefer who issued his own post on the launch last week. “We are living in an age where people spend tons of money on apes, punks, apepunks, punkapes, cryptoapes… Let’s go further, let’s bring purpose to this,” he said. “This web3 experience will grow. With digital NFT exhibitions inside the Metaverse we’re using the earnings for projects that save our planet. “We support real cleanup projects with local communities and we’re raising awareness towards issues we are all dealing with.” Dennis May, chief creative officer at Publicis Groupe Germany, said: “We are very pleased to implement the second project together with the WWF, which is breaking new ground to draw attention to important topics and collect donations. “A cooperation of a wide variety of partners lead to a new experience – for the users, but also for us as a team. We were able to contribute various competences and agencies of our group and also work with such great artists and experts as Etienne Kiefer.” The initial #OceanDetox exhibition was opened on September 17 – World Cleanup Day – but further exhibitions and habitats are planned to support the WWF in its projects around the world on a long term basis. WWF’s Metaverse action is intended to warn of the threatening intensification of the waste crisis. According to the team, up to 23 million tons of plastic waste end up in the waters around the world every year – the equivalent of two truckloads every minute. It’s estimated that 90 per cent of seabirds and half of all sea turtles swallow plastic parts. Plastic waste breaks down into microplastics particles that can no longer be removed from the ocean and therefore find themselves in the food chain.