I noticed a news release today promoting a program that trains people to become activists in the battle against plastic litter. The Surfrider Foundation -- a group I've featured in the Plastics Blog before -- is the sponsor of the Rise Above Plastics (RAP) Speaker Program, which aims "to educate the world about plastic pollution in our oceans, beaches and waterways and inspire and empower individuals do something about the issue." The training involves a 25-hour course in Los Angeles, in a beach and classroom setting. Guest trainers include John K. Bates, executive speaking & business coach; Sara Bayles, environmentalist & author; Graham Hamilton, Surfrider RAP speaker & actor; Anna Cummins & Dr. Marcus Erikson of the 5 Gyres Institute; and Alan Walti of the Surfrider South Bay Chapter & SEA Lab Researcher. The goal? "The program will train 40 selected adults to provide plastic pollution education and outreach in their own communities. By providing a course on various plastic pollution and marine debris related issues as well as communication and presentations tools, this program will enable and empower core, motivated groups of citizens to educate their peers, colleagues and neighbors. This is a powerful model because rather than having an 'outsider' come in and present, audience members will learn from those who best understand their local, practical and economic concerns." The classes, which take place in October, are free, according to the news release. Surfriders have been out front on the plastics pollution issue for a few years now, and it looks like they're taking the grassroots activism to a new level. You can be sure that the newly trained RAP speakers will be planning to go back to their communities with an agenda to ban single-use plastics. Meanwhile, on the subject of plastics industry responses to groups like the Surfriders, here's a link to (yet another) story about Stephen Joseph, the man behind the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition. The report, from Pacific Standard, is called "The Bag Man."
Surfriders training leaders to battle plastics
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