The newest cover of National Geographic is set to become one for the ages. As the world continues to drown in single-use plastic, the iconic magazine has launched a multi-year initiative called Planet or Plastic? The newly unveiled June 2018 cover illustration by Jorge Gamboa is a heartbreaking visualization of the reality we're collectively facing.
The digital illustration, titled Iceberg Plástico, shows a plastic bag submerged deep into the ocean, with just the “tip of the iceberg” peering above. The simple, direct message and metaphor is a striking commentary on the public's awareness of the issue and the fact that many don't understand the impact of plastic on the environment. The Mexican artist first created the photo-illustration in 2017 for Bolivia's Biennial of Poster Art, where it took home first prize in the political and social posters field.
With the reactions the cover is already receiving, Gamboa's work has certainly struck a chord. And it also heralds a turning point for National Geographic, which has now switched to paper packaging over a plastic wrapper for subscribers in the US, UK, and India. Global subscribers will receive paper instead of plastic by the end of 2019.