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Plastics: Impacts and Action

Credential Earned: 

Description. This course explores our social and environmental relationships with plastics and uses plastics to help understand the complex dynamic systems shaping our planet and our lives. During the course we will use critical and systems thinking while learning about everything from the plastic lifecycle, to plastic's social and environmental impacts, to NGO and government plastics policies. You will apply your knowledge by designing and implementing a locally-relevant action targeting plastic pollution. Such projects may include working for policy changes at schools or workplaces, art projects, reuse initiatives, and so much more! This is a unique opportunity to be part of an online learning community taking action against plastic pollution.

The course is largely asynchronous--meaning you can access the short lectures, readings, and other materials when it’s convenient for you. We also hold weekly webinars (recorded for those who can’t make it) as well as optional weekly office hours.

Instructors. An experienced and dynamic team from Cornell University Civic Ecology Lab: Bethany Jorgensen (PhD Candidate), Marianne Krasny (Professor), Yue Li (Research Associate), Kim Snyder (Course Administrators), Wanying Wu (Chinese teaching assistant), plus 10 Chinese language assistants.

Participants. Environment and education professionals, volunteers, university students, or other plastic-concerned citizens from any country. Discussions will be in English and Chinese.

Learning outcomes.

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:​

  1. Learn about systems thinking and apply systems thinking to describe the plastic lifecycle, plastics' global circulation as goods and waste, and the environmental and health impacts of plastics.

  2. Discuss the feasibility and effectiveness of plastic governance approaches.

  3. Develop and implement a locally-relevant action to address plastic pollution.

  4. Critically reflect on the experience and outcomes of your plastic pollution intervention and write a 1-2 page report describing your action and reflections.

  5. Participate actively in a global online community of plastic-concerned citizens.​

Cost. $60 fee. Most participants pay this fee. Options available to pay a higher fee ($120) to sponsor another student, or pay a lower or no fee if you are unable to pay or live in countries without internationally accepted payment systems (e.g., Afghanistan, Iran).

Questions? Contact us at (Please write “Plastics” in the subject line.)

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