The child actress—who played Ginny Weasley in all eight Harry Potter films—has always been interested in the machinations of things, including the systemic obstacles that we face as human beings today. That’s probably why she turned from acting to directing and also why she has become a passionate advocate in the fight against single-use plastics.
Since 2017, when Wright sailed with Greenpeace to trawl for micro-plastics and raise awareness about the issue, she has organized the first-ever Plastic Free Picnic with Greenpeace, a sustainability meetup group in LA called Waste Watch and, most recently, collaborated on a swimwear collection made from recycled plastic bottles with Fair Harbor.
Here, she shares her path to learning about this essential issue and her fierce concern for our well-being if we don’t mobilize:
Live The Process: What did your early life as a child actor look like? Were you already interested in the environment?
Bonnie Wright: I started acting when I was 9 years old. I had no idea that what I was doing was a job. It was an experience, a process that my young mind was able to be totally present to, which becomes more challenging as we age.
I have always loved the outdoors, even as a city girl. I was fortunate enough to go to the beach most weekends as a child, which had a profound effect on me.
LTP: What inspired you to become a passionate advocate in the fight against single-use plastics?
BW: I am drawn to the big picture of things, looking at the wider system and how it all fits together. When I saw so much plastic littering the beaches I loved, I was determined to understand how it got there, what system we—as humans—were failing and what systems were failing us.
LTP: Can you describe one of your more rewarding experiences as an activist?
BW: The most inspiring and eye-opening experience I have had whilst advocating for clean oceans was my trip on Greenpeace’s ship, The Arctic Sunrise. The ship’s crew and Greenpeace campaigners are so dedicated to protecting our planet. When I returned home, I felt the only thing I should be doing every hour of the day was advocating for it too.
LTP: How can we each do our part to mitigate/improve this problem?
BW: Plastic pollution and waste management in general is such a complex, global issue that it can be overwhelming to try and fix. But what I urge most people to do is to look at the waste within the controlled environment of their homes and ask themselves questions: What am I throwing away? Do I really know where my waste goes? Can I really recycle this? The minute you take stock of it, you realize there are habits of your own that you have control over.
LTP: The world is in the midst of a health crisis right now. Why is caring about the environment still important? What have we learned from this pandemic, including observing certain improvements in pollution since it began?
BW: I’ve been reading a lot about how deforestation, a huge climate crisis issue, can force animals who could be carrying disease out of their habitats and into areas where humans are, where they otherwise would never end up. It’s called, “zoonosis.” Whether or not this is the catalyst behind a virus like COVID-19, it highlights the interconnectedness of everything.
While it is interesting to look at the dip in air pollution during this pandemic, I think it’s dangerous to celebrate that because what happens when lockdowns are lifted? Will that just spike again? We need to recognize that the climate crisis threatens as many lives as this pandemic.
We have successfully mobilized the world to stay at home; we need the same level of mobilization for the climate. After we flatten the curve of this virus, we must flat-line the curve of CO2 in our atmosphere.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
BW: I like to look at happiness as fulfillment. When I am fulfilled creatively, with purpose, I am happy. Moment to moment, I also find great happiness in a good story, whether that’s a film, a book, a poem or nature.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
BW: I think it would be impossible to be a creative if I didn’t love the process. I learned early on that the end goal you work towards on a project rarely feels as rewarding as you imagine. The extreme ups and downs of the process is where the joy lies. I also believe to “Live The Process,” you need to respect and enjoy the process of others around you. We are all having such different ones. It’s fascinating.
Cover image via Morten Lasskogen, images of Bonnie via @thisisbwright