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MEDIA ADVISORY: Ocean Conservancy Hosts Webinar on “How to Fix the Mega Problem of Microplastics”

Ocean Conservancy Scientists and Wired Magazine’s Matt Simon to Discuss Microplastics Following Spate of New Research, Legislation and Publication of “A Poison Like No Other”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ocean Conservancy invites members of the media and the public to join an hour-long discussion and Q&A session on the prevalence and impacts of microplastic pollution and solutions to the problem. The event will be moderated by Dr. Chelsea Rochman, Assistant Professor of Aquatic Ecology at University of Toronto; and paneled by Dr. Britta Baechler, Ocean Conservancy’s Associate Director of Ocean Plastics Research; Dr. Anja Brandon, Ocean Conservancy’s Associate Director of U.S. Plastics Policy; and Matt Simon, science journalist at Wired Magazine and author of the recently published book about microplastics, “A Poison Like No Other” (Island Press, 2022).

Microplastics – plastic particles less than 5mm – are a fast-growing area of scientific research. Due to their small size, they are easily distributed and have reached every corner of our planet, from deep ocean trenches to the tallest mountain peaks, showing up in our food, drinking water, and organs. They absorb and leach toxic chemicals with known negative impacts on the ocean and other ecosystems. Increasingly, policymakers are evaluating if and how to regulate these pollutants. Last year, California became the first state to mandate microplastic testing for drinking water; and global leaders are considering including microplastics provisions as part of the ongoing UN negotiations for a global plastics treaty.

WHO:
  • Dr. Britta Baechler, Ocean Conservancy’s Associate Director of Ocean Plastics Research
  • Dr. Anja Brandon, Ocean Conservancy’s Associate Director of U.S. Plastics Policy
  • Matt Simon, science journalist at Wired and author of “A Poison Like No Other”
  • Moderated by Dr. Chelsea Rochman, Assistant Professor of Aquatic Ecology at University of Toronto
WHAT: Webinar with ocean plastic pollution experts highlighting the latest science around microplastic pollution as well as key policy solutions.
WHEN: Tuesday, January 31, 2023

2 PM ET

WHERE: Zoom and YouTube
TO REGISTER: Members of the media may register here and will have the opportunity to ask questions in real-time.

The event will be livestreamed to the public here. Questions can be submitted in advance via Facebook (@oceanconservancy), Instagram (@oceanconservancy) and Twitter (@OurOcean).

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ABOUT THE PANELISTS

Dr. Britta Baechler

Dr. Britta Baechler earned her doctorate at Portland State University researching the ecological and social dimensions of microplastics in Pacific Northwest shellfish. She has more than a decade of experience in fisheries management and marine conservation, having served in roles including Assistant Area Management Biologist for Shellfish in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands region of Alaska as well as Marine Protected Area Coordinator in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. She is adjunct faculty in University of Toronto’s Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences and Portland State University’s Environmental Science and Management Department. In her role as Associate Director for Ocean Plastics Research at Ocean Conservancy, Britta leads primary research on varied topics related to the distribution and impacts of plastic pollution, including prevalence of microplastics in the human food system, movement of trash from inland out to sea and public knowledge and perceptions of the plastic pollution issue.

Dr. Anja Brandon

Dr. Anja Brandon serves as Ocean Conservancy’s Associate Director of U.S. Plastics Policy, working to advance plastic policy solutions at the state and federal level. Prior to joining Ocean Conservancy, she served in the office of U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley as the lead policy advisor on issues including plastics, oceans, and water. She earned her doctorate in environmental engineering at Stanford University, focused on understanding plastic waste management challenges and developing novel methods to break down common plastics. In addition to being an invited speaker at national conferences including for the National Recycling Coalition, AMERIPEN, American Sustainable Business Council, and National Stewardship Action Council, Dr. Brandon has been an invited lecturer teaching about plastic pollution and policy solutions at universities including Stanford, Oregon State University and Bennington College.

Matt Simon

Matt Simon has been a science journalist at Wired magazine for twelve years. He covers a range of beats, including biology, robotics, climate change, and of course, microplastic pollution. He is the creator of Wired’s Absurd Creature of the Week column, which ran from September 2013 to March 2016. This later turned into the weekly web video series Absurd Creatures, which was then adapted into the hit Netflix series Absurd Planet, which premiered in April 2020. Matt is the author of two previous books. The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar: Evolution’s Most Unbelievable Solutions to Life’s Biggest Problems, which cataloged the strangest creatures on Earth, won an Alex Award in 2017. This inspired his second book, Plight of the Living Dead: What Real-Life Zombies Reveal About Our World—and Ourselves, which dove deep into the science of how parasites mind-control their hosts, published in 2018.

Dr. Chelsea Rochman

Chelsea Rochman is an Assistant Professor in Ecology at University of Toronto and co-founder of the U of T Trash Team. Chelsea received her PhD in Ecology from UC Davis and San Diego State University. She has been researching microplastic pollution for 15 years. In addition to her research, Chelsea routinely advises governments on policies related to plastic pollution. She is also a scientific advisor to the Ocean Conservancy.

ABOUT OCEAN CONSERVANCY 

Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create evidence-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit oceanconservancy.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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