Julie Sommer Selected to All-Female Plastic Research Team

You may know the name Julie Sommer.  She’s worked on campus for 8 years and is the Research Resources Manager and a LiveGreen Ambassador.  You probably didn’t know she’s one of only 300 women (and very few Americans) that have been selected for the eXXpedition: Round the World 2019-2021.  This all-female group will sail 30 voyages around the world as a hands-on crew, conducting scientific research on the causes of plastic pollution, the devastating impact plastics from land-based activities are having on our planet’s oceans, ecosystems and on human health, and will have achievable actions crew members can take back to their own communities.

The sailboat has already launched it’s first voyage and will continue through 2021 with Julie’s voyage taking place from Vanuatu to Cairns (Australia) next June.

LiveGreen is excited to learn about Julie’s work and we know many of you are concerned about plastic too.  Next Tuesday, October 29th, at 12pm Julie will present some information about the eXXpedition, as well as information on her effort to reduce the amount of plastic she and her family use. Bring your lunch to the Eppley Science Hall Auditorium at noon to learn more.

Plastic pollution in the ocean has been covered for years, and effect on marine life well established, but we are now realizing its impact on human health.  In the middle of the country, it can be easy to have concerns other than the ocean, but the world’s ecosystem (including human life) depends on it.  We eat food from the ocean and as such are also consuming plastic.  We are also drinking it, breathing it, and ingesting it from other sources—all of which can lead to cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune conditions, and neurological damage, just to name a few.  For more information on plastic’s impact on health, read this.

“Every minute, one garbage truck’s worth of plastic is dumped into the ocean—plastic breaks down but never goes away.  By 2050 oceans will contain more plastic than fish by weight. “ Sommer said. “Recycling efforts on their own are not enough, we have to reduce our plastic use.”

You can learn more about Julie and her journey here.

Please join us next Tuesday to learn about the health impacts of plastic and how you can reduce your own use.  Can’t attend? Watch online here.

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