June 22 , 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT
Healthy oceans provide vast cognitive, emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual wellness Blue Mind benefits to all of us throughout our lives. The oceans cover more than three-quarters of Earth’s surface and account for 97 percent of its water, as well as much of the air we breathe. The oceans support an incredible array of life, help regulate the climate, and support life on our blue planet. Unfortunately, our oceans face significant threats from human-made pollution, particularly plastic. Experts estimate nine to 14 million metric tons of plastic enter the oceans each year, and without urgent action, that amount will only increase—projected to reach 23–37 million metric tons annually by the year 2040.
Date: Thurs., June 22
Time: 12-1 pm PT | 3-4 pm ET
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On June 22, we will dive deep into the challenges that plastic pollution poses to our oceans and our bodies, how polluted waters disrupt the mental health benefits we gain from access to healthy oceans and waterways, and how we may restore our planet as well as our own physical and mental well-being. Joining the conversation will be “Her Deepness,” Sylvia Earle, President & Co-Chair of Mission Blue and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence; Dr. Wallace J Nichols, Marine Biologist & Author of Blue Mind; and Imari Walker-Franklin, PhD, Research Chemist at RTI International & Author of Plastics. The panel will be moderated by Plastic Pollution Coalition CEO & Co-Founder Dianna Cohen.
Dr. Sylvia Earle
Dr. Sylvia Earle, a pioneering marine biologist and National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence, has made groundbreaking contributions to ocean exploration. She earned her Master’s degree in Botany from Duke University and conducted innovative underwater scuba research for her doctoral work. She was the first woman scientist to live and work in an underwater habitat and led an all-female team for the Tektite II Project. She set a record for the deepest untethered walk on the seafloor and designed underwater vehicles with her third husband, Graham Hawkes. As the first woman Chief Scientist of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), she has authored over 200 publications, led numerous marine expeditions, and received prestigious awards, including Time magazine’s first Hero for the Planet. Currently, Earle leads the Mission Blue/Sylvia Earle Alliance, focusing on protecting Earth’s biodiversity through “Hope Spots.”
Dr. Wallace J. Nichols
Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, widely known for his work on aquatic ecosystems and marine conservation, holds an M.E.M. degree in Natural Resource Economics and Policy from Duke University and a Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona. He has been recognized with a Bradley Fellowship, a Marshall Fellowship, and a Fulbright Fellowship for his research endeavors. His contributions to the field have earned him membership in the Explorers Club and the University of Arizona’s Global Achievement Award. Formerly a senior scientist at Ocean Conservancy, he has authored over 200 publications and his book Blue Mind has gained international acclaim. His work has been featured in major media outlets worldwide, including BBC, CNN, National Geographic, and Scientific American. Based in California, Nichols is dedicated to fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for our natural world.
Dr. Imari Walker-Franklin
Dr. Imari Walker-Franklin is a research chemist at Research Triangle Institute International that contributes research to determining human and environmental exposure to potentially harmful substances. One project includes working to understand the release and effect of microplastics and microplastic associated chemicals within simulated human fluids and tissues. In 2021, she completed her Ph.D. at Duke University investigating the release, transformation and effects of polymer associated chemicals within aquatic environments. Before Duke, she completed her Bachelors in Marine Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Alongside her work, Imari uses her science communication-based YouTube channel to share information about plastic pollution, microplastics, and potentially harmful chemicals associated with these consumer products. Imari Walker-Franklin and Jenna Jambeck are the co-authors of the book Plastics (2023), which is a part of the MIT Essential Knowledge Series.
o A Guide to Plastic in the Ocean (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
o Great Pacific Garbage Patch (National Geographic)
o Fact Sheet: Plastics in the Ocean (EarthDay.org)
o Plastic Free Campus – Dr. Sylvia Earle – Mission Blue (Plastic Free Campus)
o Blue Mind by Wallace J Nichols
o Dr. Sylvia Earle – The Ocean is Connected to Everything (TEDx)
o Plastic Pollution Coalition Nominates Six Solutions for The Earthshot Prize 2023
o The True Cost of Plastic Pollution by Wallace J Nichols
o Pre-order Plastics by Imari Walker-Franklin, PhD