Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Global Youth Summit on Ocean Plastic Pollution in Dana Point

Lets Change our relationship with plastics, from the way we design, use, reuse, and recycle


February 6, 2018

Benjamin Kay

Our world has become plasticized. Products, packaging, transportation, medicine, clothing – we are surrounded by this material. As our demand grows our discarded material grows too, much of it ending up in the environment. We need to start changing our relationship with plastics, from the way we design, use, reuse, and recycle, to the way we build communities and economies around it. With previous generations failing to foresee the impending plastic pollution crisis, a new generation of global youth are taking matters into their own hands.

On February 9-11, 115 students from 10 countries will meet in Dana Point, California for Algalita's International Youth Summit to debut and refine their action-oriented solutions to reduce plastic pollution in their communities. Coming from all over the U.S, and as far afield as the Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and New Zealand, these committed students already grasp the severity of the ocean plastic crisis. Each team earned a spot in the Summit by submitting their original ideas to reduce plastic pollution. Throughout the weekend, these teams, made up of students ranging from 10 to 18 years old, will have the opportunity to share ideas with peers, learn from inspiring speakers, work one-on-one with mentors and attend workshops covering topics such as strategic planning, public speaking, and how to work with policymakers, community leaders, and businesses.

"As millions of tons of plastics continue to accumulate in our ocean each year, global youth are demanding that we address the issue head-on," said Katie Allen, Executive Director of Algalita.  "Our Youth Summit is a platform for youth to organize and amplify their voices and efforts. These students have a strong desire to contribute to meaningful social change, and we're here to make sure they have the opportunity and resources to do so."

At the event, students will have a chance to work directly with Captain Charles Moore, the man credited for sparking the "Great Plastics Awakening" in 1997 after sailing through a dense plastic accumulation area in the North Pacific Gyre – commonly known as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch." Other Summit mentors include international leaders from Bahamas Plastic Movement, Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs, Green Art Labs, Green Contributor, Heirs to Our Oceans, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Space 2 Create, The Last Plastic Straw, and The Lost Art of Love Letters.

Since its inception in 2011, the POPS International Youth Summit has provided a platform for over 500 students from 23 different countries to participate in 145 plastic pollution awareness, prevention and reduction campaigns. The continuation of these innovative projects not only empowers these future environmental leaders to make forward progress in their own communities, but also inspire the others in their lives to do the same.

Algalita is inviting the media to participate in this event being held at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, CA February 9th - 11th, 2018. For more information about attending the Summit, please contact: Anika Ballent, 562.598.4889, [email protected]


ALCHS Marine Bio Club | Animo Leadership Charter High School | Inglewood, CA

APES AGAINST MICROPLASTICS | Redondo Union High School |Redondo Beach, CA

BPM Plastic Warriors | Preston Albury High & Tarpum Bay Primary | Eleuthera, Bahamas

Conservation Club |Christian Brothers College | Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

CREECS Creek Sweepers | Cape Romain Environmental Education Charter School | McClellanville, SC

DCMS Eco Club | Deep Creek Middle School | Deep Creek, Eleuthera, The Bahamas

Free Our Sands | Beachside Montessori Village | Hollywood, FL

Green Kids Conservation Club | Delta Waters Int'l School | Maun, Botswana

H2OO Palau | Palau Mission Academy | Palau

Hinemoana Para Kore | Indigenous Zero Waste Organisation Para Kore | New Zealand

Maui Huliau | Maui Huliau Foundation | Maui, HI

PAC-kers (Plastic Awareness Campaign) | Brookhouse Int'l School | Nairobi, Kenya

Pandemonium | Burbank and John Burroughs High School | Burbank, CA

Pescadero Heirs | Pescadero Middle/High School | Pescadero, CA

Planet Heroes 2 | LWIS CiS Beruit | Beruit, Lebanon

Plastic Busters | The Pegasus School | Huntington Beach, CA

Plastic Pack | GlenOak High School | Canton, OH

Plastic Pollution Preventers | King Middle School | Portland, ME

Pollution Terminators | Forest Heights STEM Academy | Little Rock, AR

SUPPS | Cooper Academy | Fresno, CA

The Rescuers | Lycee Pilote d'Ariana | Ariana, Tunisia

WAPS Cambodia | Zaman Int'l School | Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Writing to Make a Difference | Rogers Middle School | Long Beach, CA

ABOUT ALGALITA Algalita is a global leader in the movement to end plastic pollution. Our organization was the first to expose the severity of the issue after our Founder, Captain Charles Moore, discovered the swirling soup of plastic pollution in the North Pacific – now known by many as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. With over 20 years of experience working to understand and solve the problem, Algalita is a living example of a catalyst for real change. We're committed to long-term, systemic solutions and just as we were the spark in the beginning, we're committed to being the spark that leads to the end.

Our programs are built upon four major pillars, which uphold our work to: 1) Monitor and bring attention to plastic accumulation in the open ocean through global expeditions;

2) Empower youth to become change-makers of today while preparing them to take on the challenges of the future;

3) Inspire individuals and communities to adopt plastic-smart habits; and

4) Design and evaluate solutions with industry, policy makers, businesses, and entrepreneurs worldwide while holding each group accountable for their responsibilities, actions, and impacts.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS Since our inception, Algalita has: – Developed the world's first set of research protocols for sampling ocean plastic pollution;

– Sustained an ongoing Pacific Garbage Patch monitoring program with expeditions launched every 4-5 years;

Benjamin Kay

– Helped develop a comprehensive statewide action plan to reduce sources of plastic pollution in California;

– Authored over two dozen scientific publications;

– Co-founded the world's first NGO alliance and the first industry alliance addressing ocean plastic pollution;

– Reached over 2,150 teachers and 275,800 students through our ongoing POPS Program that includes in-class science workshops, teacher training, field research opportunities, peer mentoring, and the world's first annual Plastic Pollution Youth Summit which has been the catalyst in launching over 146 waste reduction campaigns with schools, worldwide; and

– Become the first group to monitor the impact of cleanup systems in the North Pacific Gyre.


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