Earth Day Network launched its higher education campaign, MobilizeU, in 2012. Since then, over 500 US colleges and universities and 380 global colleges and universities have joined. Recognizing the power, energy, innovative abilities and organizing capacity of college students across the planet, MobilizeU has created an international movement of concerned and active students and administrators uniting around their common interest of environmental action in support of a sustainable future for all.
Creating a Post-Single-Use Plastics Future
Earth Day 2018’s Theme
Plastic objects that we use once and discard, or single-use plastics, have become a problem of global proportion. That’s why we’ve chosen single-use plastics as our 2018 theme. In 2018, MobilizeU will again play a critical role as the Higher Education ambassador for Earth Day. Start the conversation and the community action on your campus by organizing a Teach-In on issues surrounding single-use plastics and other environmental topics. Over the coming months, this website will publish toolkits, activity guides and other useful information.
About Single Use Plastics
- As of 2010, 3.5 million tons of solid waste were generated per day and will rise to 6 million tons by 2025. 10% of that waste is plastics. Less than 10% of plastic is recycled.
- There’s mounting evidence that chemicals leached from some plastics used in food and beverage storage are harmful to human health and have been linked to problems such as chromosomal and reproductive system abnormalities, cancer, adult-onset diabetes, and obesity.
- Single-use-plastics linger for years polluting, collecting other pollutants on their surface and shedding microscopic particles, which are now found in many water systems and the food chain. Therefore, when we consume fish or other animal products, we could also be consuming these pollutants and the plastic itself.
- Plastics are also injuring animals and marine life. Pieces of plastic of all sizes have been found in even the most remote marine and land environments. Animals are being harmed by eating plastics, birds killed by eating plastics, and large marine mammals drowned when caught in discarded ropes and netting.
- Single-use-plastics are particularly problematic because they are often small, light enough to float and be transported by wind and water, and are produced in unbelievable amounts. Soon, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans measured by weight!
Earth Day Network is responding by launching its 2018 global campaign to build a post-single-use-plastics world, including:
- Consumers of all ages understanding the environmental, climate and health consequences of single-use plastics and choose not only to “reduce, reuse and recycle,” but also to eliminate single-use petroleum-based plastic from their daily lives proactively.
- Governments enacting and implementing policies aimed at increasing awareness and promoting alternatives to single-use plastics;
- Scientists developing new methods and technologies to produce plastics that are biodegradable or compostable;
- Businesses producing environmentally friendly alternatives to single-use plastics.
A 2017 Mobile U Toolkit is on its way, for now here are some other resources from AASHE:
- Here is a list of student-focused campus sustainability organizations, put together by The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). From training programs and professional development opportunities, to grassroots advocacy and community outreach, you’ll find an extensive amount of resources to maximize your effectiveness on campus!
- Visit AASHE’s user-friendly Campus Sustainability Hub. This incredible one-stop shop provides members access to toolkits and resource collections covering all aspects of sustainability in higher education.
- The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. Create a report for your school.
Marine Litter Innovation Challenge
On 27 June, UN Environment and Think Beyond Plastic launched a worldwide innovation challenge for university students to find solutions to the global problem of marine litter, the world’s first of this kind. The winners will attend the Sixth International Marine Debris Conference in San Diego, California, in March 2018. Click here to apply!
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