With his documentary A Plastic Ocean, Australian environmental film-maker Craig Leeson set the agenda on plastic pollution
No one has done more than Craig Leeson to get the pressing issue of plastic pollution and how it affects the oceans into the public consciousness. For his 2016 documentary A Plastic Ocean, he travelled the world to document the devastating impact of plastic pollution on marine life in visually spectacular style, and sparked a conversation that has resonated around the world and had a dramatic impact on both consumer demand and business behaviour.
Growing up in small-town Tasmania, Leeson started his career as a newspaper journalist, then switched to radio and eventually television, becoming a local news anchor for ABC TV. He moved to Hong Kong and worked in a variety of roles before setting up his own film production company, Leeson Media International.
A documentary maker since the late 1990s, Leeson followed A Plastic Ocean with The Last Glaciers (2020), which detailed another environmental emergency—the catastrophic melting of glaciers caused by climate change. For The Last Glaciers, he qualified as a licensed paraglider and even summited Mont Blanc, western Europe’s highest mountain.
(Photo: Oliver Yoan)
Did You Know?
Leeson first became aware of the power of storytelling via a viral article he wrote for Tasmanian newspaper The Advocate in the mid-1980s, about the state government secretly tolerating the leaking of carcinogenic chemicals produced by factories into local seawater.