Farmlab Public Salon
Dr. Marcus Eriksen & Anna Cummins
Friday, January 16, 2009 @ Noon
About the Salon
Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation discuss the issue of plastic debris fouling our oceans, entering our food chain, and ultimately winding up on our dinner plates. They will discuss their recent project to build JUNK, a raft from 15,000 bottles that sailed to Hawaii this past summer, and their upcoming voyage JUNKride, cycling from Vancouver to Tijuana to raise awareness about plastic marine debris. Learn how the rapid accumulation of plastic debris is impacting our global oceans, and what we can do to stop the plastic plague.
About the Salon Participants
Marcus Eriksen received his Ph.D. in Science Education from University of Southern California in 2003, months before embarking on a 2000-mile journey down the Mississippi River on a raft made from plastic bottles. Years earlier, Marcus had worked for several zoos and museums, founding his own company, Mission Science, in 1997, visiting hundreds of California schools lecturing on geology and paleontology. Mission Science also includes a summer field course for teachers to join him excavating dinosaurs in Wyoming, which he still does today. He also hosts "Commando Weather," a series of public service announcements about the science of weather, for the Weather Channel. He is also the Director of Research and Education for the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, studying and lecturing about the plague of plastic debris in our watersheds and in the ocean. In 2006, he won the H. David Nahai Water Quality Award in Education, presented by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board for his work with students to build an ocean-going raft from plastic bottles. In 2005, Marcus created Watershed Wonders, an educational video series packaged with curriculum materials for Junior and Senior High Schools. Episodes include "Bottle Rocket down the Mississippi River", "Coastal Wetlands and the Journey of Fluke", and "Cola Kayak and the Los Angeles River." Marcus recently published his first book, titled "My River Home" (Beacon Press, 2007) chronicling his experience as a marine in the 1991 Gulf War and his 5-month journey down the Mississippi River.
His latest adventure sent him rafting across the Pacific Ocean from California to Hawaii on JUNK, a vessel floating on 15,000 plastic bottles, 30 sailboat masts lashed to form a deck, and a Cessina airplane fuselage as a cabin. The journey, 2,600 miles in 88 days, brought attention to the work of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation and the issue of plastic trash filling the world's oceans. On his next adventure, Marcus and his wife, will bicycle from Vancouver, Canada to Tijuana, Mexico to lecture about achieving a culture of sustainability.
Anna Cummins has over 10 years of experience in environmental non-profit work, education, writing, and campaign development. She has worked in marine conservation, coastal watershed management, international environmental policy, and high school ecology instruction. She received her undergraduate in History from Stanford University, and her Masters in International Environmental Policy from the Monterey Institute for International Studies.
In 2001, Anna received a fellowship from the Sustainable Communities Leadership Program, to for Santa Cruz based non-profit Save Our Shores, coordinating bilingual outreach education and community relations. At Save Our Shores, Anna came across The Algalita Marine Research Foundation's work on plastic marine debris. She later joined Algalita's 2004 research voyage to Guadalupe Island, to collect evidence of plastic ingestion by Laysan Albatross. In 2005, Anna returned to Los Angeles, to teach ecology and organic cooking at New Roads School, coordinate Green Living Workshops for Sustainable Works, and found the Bring Your Own campaign. In 2007 she joined the Algalita Marine Research Foundation as education adviser, and spent a month on board the foundation's 6th research trip to the North Pacific Gyre.
Anna has published a number of articles and chapters on environmental themes, including a regular columns for the Santa Monica Mirror and Worldchanging Los Angeles, 2 chapters in "Proceed With Passion: Engaging Students in Meaningful Education" (Red Hen Press), and numerous sustainability-themed blogs. She is currently continuing her work on plastics education with Algalita and Bring Your Own.
Image courtesy Anna Cummins
The Public Salon Series takes place Fridays @ Noon at 1745 N. Spring Street #4, Los Angeles, CA 90012. A complimentary buffet lunch is served, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Also open for viewing and purchasing through February 13, 2009: Chora Prints 2008: New Political Posters From TJ2LA .