The Scripps-Rady Ocean Plastic Pollution Challenge is a unique 6-month accelerator program focused on identifying effective, evidence-based approaches that will curb the flow of plastic into the ocean, with a specific focus on marine conservation and marine cultural preservation areas along California’s coast.” (Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

The program consisted of 3 different parts: In the first 2-months-period, participants gained expertise over a range of topics through a series of virtual short courses given by experts, such as Shelly Moore from the San Francisco Estuary Institute, or Winnie Lau from PEW. This learning phase was followed by an intense 3-months-period of team-based research. From March-May four teams were researching different topics with the aim to develop a systemic approach to plastic pollution (teams: “Changing human behavior”, “Data mapping”, “Evaluating solutions”, “Yes! in my backyard San Diego”).

Cleo Stratmann participated in the team working specifically on how to use data mapping as a tool to mitigate ocean plastic pollution. From the team-based research unique white papers were later summarized in a publication providing key recommendations to curb plastic pollution in marine protected areas by Scripps (key recommendations plastic pollution). The white papers can be downloaded here: 2021 challenge white papers. In the end, teams were mixed up again in 5 groups and worked intensely during a final two-day challenge (hackathon) to pitch solutions for plastic pollution to an expert panel. The final pitch and award ceremony can be watched online (2021 finale video).

January – June 2021

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