The Challenges of Single Use Plastic – Overloading our Ecosystems With Consumer Convenience

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The speakers will talk about the challenges of single use plastic disposal now that most plastics recycling has been exposed as more aspirational than actual. The presentation will cover current marine plastic pollution research, adjustments to our recycling system based on restrictions imposed by markets in China and Southeast Asia, and advocacy efforts by local government and non-profits. 

Speakers

Kathi King, Director of Outreach and Education, Community Environmental Council 

Kathi King is the Outreach and Education Director at CEC and is the Festival Director for CEC’s Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival. Kathi manages CEC’s Ditch Plastic program including the successful Rethink the Drink bottled water reduction program in area schools. She is on the board of the Montecito Association and is on the Santa Barbara School District’s Sustainability Sub-Committee. Kathi has a B.S. degree in Telecommunications and Film from San Diego State University and worked in the television industry in Los Angeles for several years. Kathi and her husband Jeff moved to Santa Barbara in 1998. Their two children attended Santa Barbara public schools for grades K-12 and Kathi served on several PTA boards and committees between 1998 and 2015. She did post-graduate work in Environmental Studies at Santa Barbara City College, where a class project led to Santa Barbara’s single use plastic bag ban. 

Bryan Latchford, Outreach Coordinator, Environmental Services Division, City of Santa Barbara 

Bryan’s role is to help the public understand how to fully utilize the modern solid waste services provided by the City. Bryan joined the Division in 2015, and brings a wealth of experience in marketing and communications for sustainability. He has an extensive background in developing content across multiple media and enjoys making trash & recycling interesting. Prior roles include working in environmental consulting, education, and varied branding, research, and advocacy freelance projects. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Earth Science from Cornell University, and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science & Management from UCSB’s Bren School. Bryan is a native New Yorker, loves the outdoors, and spends the rest of his time working on a nonprofit organization that creates science education videos for kids. 

Jason Maier, PhD student at the UCSB Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and Graduate Student Researcher at EmLab

Jason is a PhD student at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management where he is pursuing an emphasis in economics and environmental science. His research is on consumer behavior and the environment and, in particular, how consumers’ patterns of substitution across goods and services influence environmental outcomes. To do so, Jason uses life-cycle assessment, microeconomic theory and econometrics to better understand household consumption and substitution. His current projects assess the influence of consumer behavior in a range of proposed environmental solutions from eco-design and pro-environmental behavior, to recycling and novel food technologies.  

Penny Owens, Education and Community Outreach Director, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper 

Penny joined Santa Barbara Channelkeeper in 2004 as our Education Coordinator and Assistant Biologist. After receiving a Bachelor’s in Biology and Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz, she assisted with several sub-tidal and inter-tidal monitoring projects, including work as a research diver in the kelp forests from Santa Cruz to the southern limit of giant kelp in Baja Sur, Mexico. Prior to joining the Channelkeeper staff to coordinate and implement our marine education program and assist with field work, she spent two years on Catalina Island as a science instructor with Catalina Island Marine Institute. She also volunteers for the National Wildlife Federation every summer as faculty for their Conservation and Family Summit Program, educating teens from across the nation to be environmental stewards. Penny’s knowledge of marine and coastal ecosystems is a natural complement to her diverse field experiences in environmental education.