© 2019 LAHS STEAM Week

Julie Noblitt

Acterra | Energy & Climate Program Director

Plastics in the Ocean: How Green Chemistry Can Help

Plastic waste is an enormous environmental problem, rivaling only climate change and deforestation as one of the biggest negative externalities the world has ever seen. At the current rate of plastic waste leaking into the oceans, the World Economic Forum (2016) estimates that by 2050 our oceans will actually contain more plastic than fish (by weight). Collectively we have deposited enough plastic and other waste in the earth that geologists are now defining a distinct geologic epoch they call the Anthropocene. But plastics also offer many benefits that few of us can imagine doing without. How did we get here and what can we do about it? Come hear about some of the initiatives underway that use the principles of green chemistry and the circular economy to help solve this intractable problem.

​Meet Julie Noblitt

Julie Noblitt is Energy and Climate Program Director at Acterra, an environmental non-profit based in Palo Alto whose mission is to bring people together to create local solutions for a healthy planet. Julie joined Acterra in 2017 with long career in strategic management of nonprofits facing rapid technological change and transforming market environments. A serial social entrepreneur, she is passionate about inspiring action to protect the environment. She founded a Silicon Valley startup devoted to creating alternatives to single-use, petroleum-based plastics, and is founding board member for greenninja.org, a university-based environmental education startup that creates next-generation science curriculum for middle-school students. She holds an MBA in systems thinking and sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, including a Cleantech Certificate in Sustainable Energy Management.