POPS Youth Summit



This past Saturday, November 3rd, Team Marine attended the Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions Youth Speaker Training, at the Main Street Google headquarters. The event was an excellent opportunity to learn even more about the 20 percent of plastics that are unaccounted for –and end up in our oceans, and our streets– as well as a chance to learn about how to speak publicly about environmental issues. The event was led by Algalita Marine Research Institute representatives Anna Cummins, Lindsey Jurca, Marieta Francis, and Jordan Howard. The team gave an informative power point about plastic pollution, and it’s causes, dangers, and solutions. Every student at the summit was provided with a binder containing each individual slide of the power point, and a thumb drive with a version accessible through a computer, so that we would be able to spread our message with a ready made presentation.

Before lunch, a panel of four activists against single use plastics spoke about their experiences in past years: Captain Charles Moore (founder of the Algalita Marine Research Institute), Mark Wystrach (founder of The People’s Movement, a clothing company that uses recycled materials), Ann Garth (a 14-year-old advocate for plastic pollution solutions), and Marcus Eriksen (founder of the 5 Gyres organization). Each speaker answered questions about what motivated them to continue their fight against single use plastics, and how they started out as environmental activists.

Throughout the day, all of the students participated in public speaking exercises, some led by the Algalita team, and some led by actor Brian Palermo. We were taught how to present ourselves in a professional manner while speaking, and how to structure presentations in an organized manner. We then made plans for future presentations to the City Council of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Malibu School District Board of Education, and politicians in Sacramento. Students had the opportunity to make partnerships with other student groups who attended the Summit, and plan for joint events. Team Marine members got to know other youth activists, and made many useful connections with other schools in California.

All meals were provided, and students were lucky enough to get a tour of the Google building during the break. All in all, the Youth Summit was a great opportunity to learn public speaking skills, and increase our knowledge of plastic pollution.

By Ellie Reynolds