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Global Plastics Treaty – Reflections on 'Strength and Perseverance'

During the 4th round of negotiations for the Global Plastics Treaty (INC-4), I witnessed the immense strength and perseverance of a diverse range of global scientists, activists, and indigenous leaders who are working toward a future free from plastic pollution. On the ground, people used art, story-telling, rallies, and even baking (cookies designed as credit cards to reflect our weekly microplastic consumption) as creative tactics to advance our collective message. 

Connecting with youth attendees from around the world was extremely inspiring and energizing. We all shared similar struggles and concerns related to plastic pollution, and the future of our planet. We also shared a hopeful vision of what we know the world can look like; A world that is centered around environmental protection, human rights, and circularity. I was particularly proud when a group of youth representatives, including myself and Surfrider’s Student Club leader Audrey Gregg, were able to meet with two members of the United Nations U.S. Delegation. We expressed our priorities surrounding the Global Plastics Treaty and emphasized the urgent need for the U.S. to take a bold stance on reducing plastic production. 

The indigenous and frontline leaders who were in attendance at INC4, many of whom traveled very far to be there, shared the injustices that their communities are facing due to all stages of plastic production. It was deeply moving and powerful to hear their stories firsthand. Global leaders must listen to those who are on the frontlines of this crisis, and prioritize their solutions, knowledge, and wellbeing. Although there is still a long road ahead, it's not too late. There are so many dedicated change-makers who are using their voices and platforms to create real progress, which will continue to grow for generations to come. 

PAZ Table

From left, Surfrider Cal Poly SLO Club Sustainability Coordinator Audrey Gregg, Plastic Pollution Initiative Senior Manager Jennifer Savage, Surfrider Canada Chapter Manager Lilly Woodbury, Surfrider Canada Executive Director Lucas Harris and Surfrider Club Network Coordinator Carolyn Curtin.