The Unmasking Plastic Ocean Learning Lab is a series of webinars in which expert voices provide a holistic and diverse perspective on the plastic problem and its solutions.

The first step to engaging with this series is to enroll by completing the brief registration form below.

The Unmasking Plastic Ocean Action Lab brings people working on plastics together to share solutions, resources, and make connections to enhance the impact of their work.

Overview

The Unmasking Plastic Ocean Learning Lab aims to assess the full scope of challenges posed by plastic from an inclusive perspective, engaging with more than two dozen experts around the world to answer questions like:

  • How can we re-conceptualize the idea of “waste”?
  • What do we do about plastic pollution in the meantime?
  • What are the repercussions of a ‘plastic planet’?
  • What are the opportunities for optimism?

This initiative consists of an Ocean Learning Lab Series and a new type of engagement called an Ocean Action Lab. This Ocean Action lab is curated by plastic expert Patty Villarrubia, who will foster a collaborative space for practitioners actively working on ocean plastic to generate multi-faceted approaches to this social, environmental and economic problem within a uniquely international context. 

This series is generously supported by the Swarovski Foundation, which supports initiatives and organizations working through water sustainability and environmental projects to promote the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment.

Swarovski Foundation

 

Enroll Now

Register below to participate in the Plastics and Ocean Health series.

Participants attending seven or more of the webinars will earn an Ocean Learning Labs certificate from SOA

Participants interested in engaging with the Unmasking Plastic Ocean Action Lab should indicate their interest on the form.

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Webinar Schedule

Webinars are hosted each Wednesday on Zoom and recordings will be posted here as they are available. 

  • September 9 - The Story of Plastic panel discussion. Enroll to receive the recording and request access to the screening of The Story of Plastic.
  • September 23 - Research it! The global plastic challenge: research and communication. Recording here.
  • September 30- Politicize it! The Politics of Plastic – new agreements for new problems
  • October 7- Reduce it! Daily hacks and ocean-friendly products to change to a single-use free lifestyle
  • October 14- Circulate it! Limiting at source: waste diversion, recycling, and circularity
  • October 21- (re)?Make it! Plastic waste reduction through new material alternatives
  • October 28- Monetize it! From waste to gold: giving economical value to plastic waste to protect our oceans
  • November 5: SOA Connects Session- Clean it! Clean-up initiatives and technologies around the world 
  • November 12- SOA Connects & the Unmasking Plastic Finale!

Featured Experts

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    Sally Earthrowl

    Mission Leader, eXXpedition

    Sally is a keen environmentalist, adventurer, and ocean advocate. When living in Bali, she saw first-hand the devastating impact and upstream issues around plastic pollution in a developing country. This propelled her to take action, working closely with the local community to educate and raise awareness to bring about change in local waste management systems and behaviors.

     

    In 2018, Sally sailed through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch on eXXpedition North Pacific gaining the first-hand experience of the extent of plastic in our oceans and contributing to ‘science at sea’

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    Marcus Eriksen

    Research Director and co-founder, 5 Gyres

    Marcus Eriksen is the Research Director and co-founder of the 5 Gyres Institute. He studies the global distribution and ecological impacts of plastic marine pollution, which has included expeditions sailing through all 5 subtropical gyres, Bay of Bengal, Southern Ocean and inland lakes and rivers -publishing the first global estimate of all plastic of all sizes floating in the world’s oceans in 2015.

     

    Today Eriksen and his team are focused on helping cities worldwide to understand the systems and sources of plastic pollution in their region, then employ solutions to stop the flow from land to sea. When not leading expeditions through plastic seas, he and his family spend much of the summers in the Lake Cretaceous badlands of Wyoming excavating dinosaurs for the science center, LeapLab.org.



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    Bethanie Carney Almroth

    Associate Professor in Ecotoxicology

    Dr. Carney Almroth is an associate professor in ecotoxicology at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Her research focuses on the environmental effects of plastics and plastic-associated chemicals, using different species of fish for study.

     

    She studies sources of microplastics to the aquatic environment and uses biochemical and physiological methodologies to understand how exposure to microplastics, plastic additives, and environmental chemicals affect fish via different exposure routes. She also works in interdisciplinary research groups addressing environmental pollution and large scale collective action, collaborating with political scientists, economists, behavioral scientists, and legal scholars.

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    Tim Grabiel

    Senior Lawyer, Environmental Investigation Agency

    Tim Grabiel is an experienced environmental lawyer based in Paris, France. He joined the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) in 2011, providing legal and policy advocacy and advice on marine plastic pollution and climate change at the European Union and international levels. Prior to joining EIA, Tim spent 1.5 years working in Brussels and 6 years working in the United States on environmental litigation and legislation.

     

    Tim has extensive experience with governmental and non-governmental organizations on a wide range of environmental issues, which in addition to the above also include renewable energy, waste management, transportation, forests, air quality, energy, water quality, coal mining, biodiversity, and trade. He taught international and trade law as an adjunct professor at Sciences Po-Le Havre in France. Tim is a law graduate of New York University (NYU) School of Law and received his undergraduate degree in Economics/International Area Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is admitted to practice law in England and Wales, the European Union, New York, and California.

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    Alicia Mateos-Cárdenas, PhD

    Microplastic Pollution Postdoctoral Researcher

    Alicia is committed to bring science outside the lab and communicate the facts of plastic pollution to a wider audience. Alicia currently works as a Researcher at University College Cork (Ireland) investigating microplastics and their associated chemicals in deep-sea Irish coral habitats. She recently submitted her Ph.D. thesis entitled “Impacts, Fate and Trophic Transfer of Microplastics in the Freshwater Environment” and published three first-author papers on the interactions between microplastics, aquatic plants, and crustaceans. 

    She holds a MSc in Wildlife Management and Conservation from the University of Reading (UK) and a BSc in Environmental Science from Universidad de Salamanca (Spain). Apart from her academic experience, in 2016 she volunteered for ‘Ecology Project International Galápagos’ in their Green turtle and Plastic pollution projects. Also, in 2014 she volunteered at ‘BIOS.cv’, a Loggerhead turtle conservation camp in Cape Verde. As a result of these experiences, Alicia has a deep passion for conserving the natural world and fighting against plastic pollution.

  • Patricia Villarrubia Gomez

    Patricia Villarrubia-Gómez

    Plastic Pollution Expert & Action Lab Facilitator

    As a plastic waste expert, she promotes and supports sustainable practices and research by combining her background in natural science, activism, and her passion for healthier oceans. In her research, she addresses ocean challenges through a multi- and cross-sectorial lens, that incorporates international policy and governance as well as technological advances and grassroots movements. She is especially passionate about understanding the knowledge-action interfaces of the global plastic pollution crisis to inform more effective societal responses and institutional change for equity and justice.

     

    Patricia has studied and worked as a Research Assistant at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (Stockholm University, Sweden), where she researched the feasibility of including plastic within the Planetary Boundaries Framework. She has worked as a Plastic Pollution Expert for GRID-Arendal, a Centre Collaborating with UNEP, investigating about plastic waste trade transboundary movement, the effects of plastic waste. She also had the opportunity to participate and co-authored a 2020 workshop report by GESAMP “Assessing the Risks associated with Plastics and Microplastics in the Marine Environment."

  • Danni Washington

    Danni Washington

    Marine Biologist and TV Host

    Danni Washington is a TV host and Science Communicator who is also the first African-American woman to host her own science television series. Currently, Danni is featured as a correspondent on a weekly nationally syndicated CBS series called Mission Unstoppable with host Miranda Cosgrove who is also co-Executive Producer alongside fellow actor Geena Davis. Danni has also hosted other STEM shows including Xploration Nature Knows Best on FOX, Science the $#!* Out Of It for Facebook Watch, Untamed Science for Pearson Publishing and Ocean GEMS. In 2017, Danni was selected as one of the 10 young rising innovators who was profiled in CA Technologies #STEM10 initiative alongside artist Jaden Smith and other rising stars in the field. Danni also served as the 2018 spokesperson of the nation’s largest celebration of STEM at the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington D.C. She is a graduate of the University of Miami with a degree in Marine Science & Biology. She is also the co-founder of Big Blue & You, a proficient scuba diver, the co-creator of Sea Youth Rise Up, an inspirational speaker, and a passionate advocate for ocean and planet conservation.

  • Yuyun Ismawati Drwiega

    Yuyun Ismawati Drwiega

    Senior Advisor & Co-Founder of Nexus3

    Yuyun is the Co-Founder and Senior Advisor of Nexus3, formerly known as BaliFokus Foundation, an environmental NGO working towards a just, toxics-free, and sustainable future.

    She has broad and rich experiences in urban environmental management issues, climate change, environmental health, toxics and wastes issues. Participatory approach, stakeholders engagement, and systemic changes are the main approaches and tools of her intervention in environmental and health issues. She is a social entrepreneur interested in finding a systemic change to answer environmental problems, mainly through a Public-Private-People Partnerships.

    At the global level, she is affiliated with IPEN (International Pollutants Elimination Network), serves as the lead for Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining and the Toxics-Free Future Network: GAIA, WECF, BAN, HCWH, and #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement.

    She holds an Environmental Engineering Bachelor degree from ITB Indonesia, and MSc in Environmental Change and Management from the University of Oxford (2010-2011). She is a Goldman Environmental Prize 2009 awardee, LEAD Fellow, Ashoka Fellow, and an Ancora Scholar.
     

  • Martin Bourque

    Martin Bourque

    Executive Director, Ecology Center Berkeley

    Martin Bourque is committed to sparking change within the environmental and social justice landscape in order to keep the movement fresh, dynamic, and forward thinking. He thrives at the intersection of community movement building, policy development and program implementation. Since 2000, Martin has led the Ecology Center, a community-based organization founded in 1969 and incorporated on Earth Day in 1970. Under Martin's leadership, the Ecology Center has become a high impact engine for change. Martin has spearheaded innovative efforts such as creating a farmers’ market industry group, pioneering electronic food stamp access and incentives at farmers’ markets statewide, and passing the nation’s first Soda Tax.

    Martin's previous experience includes promoting sustainable, organic agriculture in Central America, supporting food justice for low-income communities, and fighting policies that allow dangerous pesticide-sprays in urban areas. He has served on the Community Food and Justice Coalition Advisory Committee, The Grassroots Recycling Network Board and the Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board (StopWaste).

    Martin earned a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies and Environmental Policy from UC Berkeley, and a B.A. in Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior from UC San Diego.

  • Sirine Rached

    Sirine Rached

    Global Policy Advocate, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)

    Sirine works with the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives to end plastic pollution.

    GAIA is a worldwide alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 90 countries.

    With our work we aim to catalyze a global shift towards environmental justice by strengthening grassroots social movements that advance solutions to waste and pollution. 

     We envision a just, zero waste world built on respect for ecological limits and community rights, where people are free from the burden of toxic pollution, and resources are sustainably conserved, not burned or dumped. 

    At GAIA, we see waste and its resulting pollution as a symptom of a larger, profit-driven extractive economy, and we promote zero waste as a holistic solution and an economic shift toward justice and sustainability.

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    Tim Grabiel

    Senior Lawyer, Environmental Investigation Agency

    Tim Grabiel is an experienced environmental lawyer based in Paris, France. He joined the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) in 2011, providing legal and policy advocacy and advice on marine plastic pollution and climate change at the European Union and international levels. Prior to joining EIA, Tim spent 1.5 years working in Brussels and 6 years working in the United States on environmental litigation and legislation.

     

    Tim has extensive experience with governmental and non-governmental organizations on a wide range of environmental issues, which in addition to the above also include renewable energy, waste management, transportation, forests, air quality, energy, water quality, coal mining, biodiversity, and trade. He taught international and trade law as an adjunct professor at Sciences Po-Le Havre in France. Tim is a law graduate of New York University (NYU) School of Law and received his undergraduate degree in Economics/International Area Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is admitted to practice law in England and Wales, the European Union, New York, and California.

Ocean Action Lab

The Unmasking Plastic Action Lab is available only to Learning Lab participants who are presently working on the plastic crisis in some capacity; for example, through research, cleanup coordination or advocacy, raising awareness, devising solutions, etc.

If you are interested in enrolling in the Action Lab, please indicate your interest in the enrollment form and you will receive more information.

If you have questions, please contact the Coordinator using the form below.

Resources

Through partnerships with organizations and plastics experts, SOA is developing a comprehensive toolkit to educate and enable action. 

Module 1: The Story of Plastic

Cleanups

Cleaning up plastic in rivers and beaches is one small but tangible way to address the plastic crisis.  To turn education into action, SOA is coordinating cleanups of waterways all over the world. We will add more information here as we work to implement cleanups that meet local restrictions and regulations related to COVID-19.

  • Florida, United States (SOA University of Florida) - delayed due to University restrictions
  • Mississippi, United States (SOA University of Southern Mississippi) - delayed due to University restrictions
  • Mombasa, Kenya (SOA Kenya) 
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand (SOA University of Chiang Mai)- delayed due to University restrictions
  • Barranquilla, Colombia (SOA Colombia): October 2020

 

Contact the Action Lab Coordinator