In the last 20 years alone, the world has consumed more plastic than the entire 20th century. Global plastic production has exploded, resulting in visible accumulations of plastic trash, a constant reminder of market failures in recycling, materials, manufacturing and design. Plastic waste accumulations along beaches and coastlines cause economic damages to tourism, stress the waste management systems’ capacity to manage waste flows, and present huge economic challenges to municipal governments around the world. In the ocean, plastic breaks down into small, highly toxic particles that present danger to marine life, to entire eco-systems and potentially the human food chain. Marine plastic pollution and its impacts on the ocean are only partially understood; but the accelerated rate of consumption, combined with the projected growth of coastal population by year 2050 and the growing body of evidence of impact of toxicity on human health and marine eco-systems, present an urgent challenge that must be addressed without delay.

This class will examine plastic pollution as an innovation opportunity with untapped investment potential. The class will focus on current, emerging and innovative approaches to addressing the global marine plastics crisis by engaging innovation, entrepreneurship, impact investment, transformative public policy and civil society.

6:00pm-7:50pm on Tuesday, Thursday (Mar 30, 2016 to May 20, 2016)
Morse B106