Shailene Woodley Announces Eco-Campaign With AMEX + Shares What She’d Buy Her “Big Little Lies” Co-Stars If Money Was No Object

Photo Credit: JStone/Shutterstock.comShailene Woodley Photo Credit: Emory Hall

Shailene Woodley wants to make the world a better place. That’s why the “Big Little Lies” actress has teamed up with American Express to unveil a number of commitments to combat marine plastic pollution with Parley for the Oceans. The 27-year-old actress took to social media to explain the #BackOurOceans initiative on Instagram, which states that for every comment made from September 16-23, AMEX will partner with Parley to remove two pounds of plastic from our beaches. The brand also announced that later this year, it will introduce a redesigned Green Card, which is made primarily with reclaimed plastic collected from beaches, islands and coastal communities, as well as its first Card recycling program. We caught up with Woodley to discuss the campaign, her ambassadorship with American Express and what she’d buy her “Big Little Lies” co-stars Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz and Nicole Kidman if money was no object.

Shailene Woodley

Tell us why you decided to become a celebrity spokesperson for the #BackOurOceans campaign?

At the end of the day, we’re in a complete environmental/marine crisis. Our oceans need some serious loving and some serious help. They need some serious awareness. What I’m really excited about with this partnership is that AMEX as a major corporation is taking huge steps to not only adjust their company policies but also bring that consciousness and awareness to their demographic and the world in general. That’s something that is so beautiful to me because we have to meet each other halfway. We all carry a piece of the puzzle to create a good solution moving forward and it only makes sense to me to partner with this corporation that is doing so.

Why is this such a personal cause for you?

Like I mentioned we’re in a total state of crisis when it comes to our oceans. Over 50% of our oxygen comes from the sea and a truckload of plastic is entering our sea every minute. There’s enough plastic in our oceans to cover the world 400 times over. We’re basically in a complete state of unknowns. We don’t know what’s going to continue to happen as more plastic fills our seas to our marine life, our human life, our ecosystems on land, because it’s all directly related to one another. For me the obvious reason is if we want to continue procreating as a species we need to understand the ramifications of micro plastics in our oceans and how it’s going to affect—and it already has—our personal food chains.

What is the call to action here?

I think the biggest thing we can all do is to become aware of and limit our consumption of single use plastics. Do we use water bottles four times a day? Are awe consuming small bags of chips 5 times a day? What is the amount of single use plastics that we’re actually endorsing with our lifestyle and habitual decisions? Where can we make some shifts in our personal lifestyle? Can we use stainless steel water bottles? Maybe we don’t eat the chips. We can talk to our local grocery store managers and say hey I’m uncomfortable with the fact that we’re still using plastic bags for our groceries is there any way we can make the transition to paper bags? Those conversations are not comfortable or fun to have but they do drive direct change. And are incredibly important. Besides going a step above and just becoming aware of how much plastic we use in our personal lives, having conversations with your neighbors, community members and local CEOS makes a difference.

Would you say that you’re the type of person who would do anything for what she believes in?

I definitely stand up for what I believe in. I believe in people, and the power of global healing—the power of love and how we all want to feel seen and heard—and that’s not really happening a lot right now. No matter whether we’re talking about environmentalism or the mass incarceration issue in our country, it all boils down to the same thing, which is justice, which boils down to the same thing, which is love. I do feel a duty—not as an actor, not as an activist, not as someone with a platform, but simply as a human being on this planet—to leave it a little bit better than where I found it when I came here.

AMEXPhoto Credit: AMEX

If you could buy your “Big Little Lies” co-stars anything in the world with your AMEX, what would it be for each?

I believe in the power of experiences. I believe in the power of shared experiences so I’d probably buy us a really radical, groovy, relaxing, fun, spa vacation. To some beautiful location far away from everyone and everything with a sandy beach and beautiful water. That’s where I would go. I’m sure a place like that exists in the world. Maybe I’d buy them an island. You didn’t put a money limit on it!

What to you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

I think the greatest luxury in life is being alive. It’s such a gift to be alive and experience things. But if you want to talk about material luxury again, I’m a big believer in experiences, whether it’s spa life or vacation life or movie theater life, anything that gets us out from our benign, monotonous every single day circumstances.

What is the most outstanding experience you’ve had that you can recollect from the last few years?

I just spent seven days in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of the Sargasso Sea. That was an experience that I will find hard to beat. Being surrounded by ocean—that much water in that way—I just don’t know if that will ever happen again in my life. It was truly magical. It was serene and really gave you a lot of time to reflect on your life, your decisions, your habits. It served as a mirror for me to reflect on who I wanted to be, who I am now, who I was, who I will become. It led to a lot of big, existential questions that I didn’t expect to be asked but because I didn’t have the distraction of noise, it served as a sort of soundboard for a lot of self-discovery.

What was your big takeaway from the experience?

It would be to just enjoy and to play more. I’m a very disciplined person and a very responsible person and it’s so important to incorporate play. The ocean taught me to use play as a new perspective and it’s brought a lot of joy into my life.

Shailene Woodley
Woodley with “Big Little Lies” co-stars Zoe Kravitz, Laura Dern, Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman