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‘Ding’ Darling lecture aims to turn tide on plastic pollution

By Staff | Mar 21, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Hawaii-based marine scientist Lauren Blickely, right, at work.

Marine scientist Lauren Blickley will present a special presentation, “Drastic Plastic – Turning the Tide on Plastic Pollution,” on March 29 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel, as part of the 2019 “Ding” Darling Friday Lecture series.

“Five trillion plastic pieces are currently floating in the ocean,” the Hawaii-based researcher said. “Scientists estimate that plastics will outweigh fish in the next 30 years.”

“Recent research indicates that plastic is present in bottled water, sea salt, and even beer,” Blickley added. “Though the negative environmental impacts of plastic have been studied since the 1980s, the global consumption of plastic goods continues to increase each year.”

Her lecture will explore the impact of plastic on human lives and actionable steps the public can take to decrease its personal plastic footprints. She combines science with advocacy, which helped lead the passage of local policies to outlaw plastic bags and Styrofoam take-out containers on Maui. Her current research is aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of single-use plastic policies, such as bans against plastic bags and straws.

Published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, Blickely has led to a better understanding of environmental factors that influence plastic pollution on Maui coastlines. She is a member of the Hawaii Marine Debris Action Plan committee and chaired sessions at the sixth International Marine Debris Conference.

HighTower/Thomas & Swartz Wealth Management sponsors the 11-lecture series with support from the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge. The free lectures are held on Fridays through April 12. The remaining schedule is listed below; some include book signings:

– April 5: Ornithologist Dr. Jerry Lorenz, “Flamingos & Spoonbills: Pink Canaries in a Coal Mine”

– April 12: Author Denege Patterson, “Five Islands Never Flooded: A Tour of the Islands of Pine Island Sound, Florida”*

*book signing to follow

Seating for the lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis. Early arrivals can save one seat and one extra one with personal items, then may explore the Visitor & Education Center or Indigo Trail before the lecture starts. Saved seats must be filled 15 minutes before lecture time.

For more information, call 239-472-1100 ext. 241 or visit dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/lecture-and-film-series. The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is at 1 Wildlife Drive, Sanibel.