A new environmental campaign highlighting the negative impacts of single-use plastic bags will be showcased today as part of a weeklong sustainability project.
Organized by UCSB students and members of the A.S. Coastal Fund, “The Evolution of Man and Bag” will take place today at 3 p.m. in Bren Hall 4016. The free event features a lecture on the impacts of plastics on the environment, and especially the oceans, followed by a film titled “Addicted to Plastics: the Rise and Demise of a Modern Miracle.”
As advertisement for today’s event, a person dressed entirely in plastic bags caught people’s attention in the arbor yesterday and handed out information.
President and Founder of Blue Ocean Sciences Dr. Andrea Neal, who will be lecturing at the event, said the environmental problems associated with plastic are not well known.
“A big problem is that people don’t realize that their trash doesn’t go away,” Neal said. “People put their trash in a designated bin and it still does not go away.”
According to Neal, an average person uses approximately 600 to 700 plastic bags each year. Neal said she plans to focus her lecture on the power individuals can have in leading the community.
“UCSB has a good program for recycling,” Neal said. “One can quickly do the math and find that the number of plastics used could be reduced just with the student body.”
Ally Gialketsis, a second-year history and environmental studies major, said students, as active members of the community, can have a major impact on the environment.
“The biggest problem with plastics is convenience,” Gialketsis said. “We need to get away from convenience and think more about the environment. We don’t want to create policies against using plastic. We need people to want to do it.”
Carly Keen, the outreach and education coordinator at the Coastal Fund, said she hopes the event will teach students that plastic doesn’t just disappear when you throw it away.
“I hope that they become more aware of plastics in their lives,” Keen, a fourth-year environmental studies and Spanish major, said. “Plastics are everywhere and they’re eventually going to end up harming you in some way.”
UCSB alumnus and coordinator Hunter Flynn said there are many advantages to reducing plastic bag use in the community.
“We focus on reducing the bags used in I.V. and on campus, because plastic waste affects everyone in different ways,” Flynn said. “To reduce the amount of plastic bags used is beneficial financially and from an environmental standpoint. There is motivation from all different angles.”
Flynn said the event will focus on the specific ways environmental issues affect audience members.
“One thing with environmentalism is that you don’t make changes until something personally affects you,” said Flynn. “Dr. Neal makes trash become a little more personal than it usually is.”