Saving Our Plastic Planet: Science and Solutions

This month, the United Nations is continuing its process of negotiating a Global Treaty to Address Plastic Pollution at INC-4 in Ottawa, Canada. As a member of the Scientific Coalition, Dr. Marcus Eriksen will be there to provide scientific consultation as needed by
negotiators representing over 140 countries supporting the treaty.

On his way back from INC-4 and joined by his wife and co-founder Anna Cummins, Eriksen will visit ACES to provide an update to the treaty process, its strengths and weaknesses, and the challenges ahead to get to a final draft. While this treaty reflects a global position on plastic pollution mitigations, it is the national, state and especially local policy work that drives change. In this presentation we will discuss the interplay between these global and local conversations. At the same time, Eriksen will provide an update on the science of plastic pollution. The research frontier has moved away from ocean plastics to broadly address impacts of plastic waste on all freshwater systems, terrestrial environments, even our air. One key frontier is human health and the impact of nanoplastics. This presentation will be an update on both the policy and science frontiers in the plastic pollution movement today.

About Marcus Eriksen: Dr. Marcus Eriksen is a researcher and co-founder of the 5 Gyres Institute, and recently co-founding Leap Lab.  He studies the global distribution and ecological impacts of plastic pollution, which has included over 20 expeditions sailing across all 5 ocean basins, Bay of Bengal, Southern Ocean and inland lakes and rivers. Today Eriksen and his team are focused on helping cities worldwide to understand the systems and sources of plastic pollution, as well as working with corporations to validate solutions.

Leap Lab is a network of science centers with a mission to improve science literacy in order to address 21st  Century challenges. Leap Lab provides the public with exhibits, education programs, workshops and expeditions that focus on solutions to the problems facing a growing population with great material, food and energy demands, on a planet with finite space and resources.  To survive and thrive in this century, we must lead with

When not leading expeditions through plastic seas, or the fossil beds of Eastern Wyoming to hunt dinosaurs, he and his family spend their time working their 15 acre farm in Ventura, California.

About Anna Cummins: Anna spent much of her early youth playing in Santa Monica storm drains, beaches, and her backyard compost pile, experiences that sparked her interest in the land-sea connection. Anna Cummins received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University, and her Masters in International Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute for International Studies. She has spent the last 25 years working in the environmental field, in marine conservation, coastal watershed management, bilingual outreach, and sustainability education.

Anna and her husband Dr. Marcus Eriksen co-founded 5 Gyres in 2009, with a goal of stopping the flow of plastic pollution through science, education, and advocacy.  5 Gyres uses first hand, vetted science as the basis for upstream solutions, including banning single use plastics, engaging corporations to reduce their plastic footprint, and working with communities to drive local change.

Saving Our Plastic Planet: Science and Solutions

April 29, 2024 from 5:30–6:30pm


Hallam Lake