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Educating for Action to Reduce Marine Debris and Plastic Pollution


Tonight I am the moderator at the second annual PLASTICS 360: Impact & Possibilities Movie Night which shows several high-impact movie shorts connected by engaging discussions with experts after each film. My expertise is the impact of plastic pollution in the ocean: deadly entaglements, posionous ingestions, and the blight across all ocean habitats caused by litter from the land, sea, and industrial fishing. Combining entertainment with science and a call to action is a winning combination I enjoy.

What can people do to help rid the marine environment of plastic pollution? Simple everyday actions include choosing to avoid and reject disposable plastic items given to you (plastic bags, forks, straws, and free merchandise), taking a moment to pick-up litter in the environment and dispose of it properly, encouraging friends and co-workers to recycle, and supporting advocacy efforts to create policies that reduce plastic production and waste. More complex actions are to lead a new movement or policy campaign to eliminate plastic from a consumer product (glass bottles not plastic), from a consumer product packaging (use recycled paper not plastic), or from an industrial-scale operation (stop wrapping shipments in plastic). More advice is here at the Sea Turtle Restoration Project's Bag the Plastic website!

Lead by example! Get out to your local beach and take action to remove the waste and get it out of the marine environment. If you are in California, join me at a beach cleanup, just check the Sea Turtle Restoration Project's Events page.

For the most adventurous, I have organized a trip to Costa Rica as part of the Ocean Hero project at Project AWARE! For the first half of this adventure we will partner with several non-profits in Costa Rica to bring volunteers to a magnificent leatherback sea turtle nesting beach on the Carribean shore to assist with sea turtle and marine debris research. The volunteers help with sea turtles at night the marine debris research and beach cleanups during the day. It is the first-ever Eco Tour to tackle marine debris at a sea turtle nesting beach in Costa Rica! Learn more at SEE the WILD's website.

In another week, I am honored to be a speaker at the all-day PLASTICS 360: Impact & Possibilites Interactive Conference in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. I'll be joined by waste-reduction experts and we will teach our audience to be better stewards of the ocean and connect them to actions to reduce marine debris and plastic pollution. I'm thrilled to be sharing my Project AWARE Ocean Hero work with this audience and promote all the actions I am planning throughout this year!

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