125+ students from across 8 countries and 6 U.S. states will convene in Dana Point, CA, February 22-24, to advance global solutions to plastic pollution at Algalita’s POPS International Youth Summit, a 3-day empowerment experience held at the Ocean Institute. POPS, an acronym for Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions, has helped support 181 grassroots projects in 21 countries since its inaugural year in 2011.
Coming from all over the U.S., and as far afield as New Zealand and Africa, these committed students already grasp the severity of the ocean plastic crisis. They won places at the Summit based on their innovative ideas on how best to combat plastic pollution in their own communities. The event offers youth – ranging from 11 to 18 years old – a chance to learn about current scientific research and political action on plastic pollution, share their action projects with their peers, and work directly with mentors to help improve their projects’ next steps.
This year’s teams are representing both coastal and inland, rural and urban, communities. From providing food banks with reusable bags to instituting reusable utensils in their school cafeteria, these teams are addressing plastic pollution locally and with culturally and regionally specific solutions.
“We believe responsible solutions to plastic pollution are within reach, and we believe youth will accelerate the process,” said Katie Allen, Executive Director of Algalita. “Our team is 100% committed to preparing this new generation to take on the challenges ahead.”
This year’s team of experts and workshop leaders include: Dr. Wallace “J” Nichols, The New York Times best selling author, scientist, and ocean conservation enthusiast; Stiv Wilson, Director of Campaigns at The Story of Stuff; youth eco-conscious-raising powerhouses Kristal Ambrose and Will Simmons; representatives from Plastic Pollution Coalition, The Last Plastic Straw, 5 Gyres Institute, Surfrider Foundation, Bureo; and of course Algalita’s own Captain Charles Moore, who won the Peter Benchley Ocean “Hero of the Seas” Award, and whose best-selling book Plastic Ocean has brought worldwide attention to the phenomenon.
Due to the generous support of sponsors like the Massen Greene Foundation, musician Jack Johnson and the team at the Johnson Ohana Foundation, the Summit is free to attend for all participants.