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Cornell University’s Civic Ecology Lab invites you to join our next 4-week online course – Plastics: Impacts and Action

  • 4-week Global Online Course, April 1 – April 28, 2024

  • 25 professional development hours

  • For school teachers, educators, university students, education leaders, decision-makers, policy-makers, and volunteers

  • Learn from Cornell University instructors, guest speakers, and participants from around the world

  • Optional live webinars with experts

  • Receive a Cornell University certificate

This course explores our social and environmental relationships with plastics and uses plastics to help understand the complex dynamic systems shaping our planet and our lives. During the course we will use critical and systems thinking while learning about everything from the plastic lifecycle, to plastic's social and environmental impacts, to NGO and government plastics policies. You will apply your knowledge by designing and implementing a locally-relevant action targeting plastic pollution. Such projects may include working for policy changes at schools or workplaces, art projects, reuse initiatives, and so much more! This is a unique opportunity to be part of an online learning community taking action against plastic pollution.

As you learn with us, you will be supported by our experienced and dynamic team! Instructors include Dr. Bethany Jorgensen and Dr. Marianne Krasny from the Civic Ecology Lab at Cornell University. The course team also includes several co-instructors (including in China and Korea), teaching assistants, and administrators. We cannot wait to have you in our course!

In this course you will:

  1. Learn about systems thinking and apply systems thinking to describe the plastic lifecycle, plastics' global circulation as goods and waste, and the environmental and health impacts of plastics.

  2. Discuss the feasibility and effectiveness of plastic governance approaches.

  3. Develop and implement a locally-relevant action to address plastic pollution.

  4. Critically reflect on the experience and outcomes of your plastic pollution intervention and write a 1 page report describing your action and reflections.

  5. Participate actively in a global online community of plastic-concerned citizens.

  6. Participants who complete the course are awarded a Cornell University certificate (PDF). 

Cost is $70 (strongly encouraged). We accept participants who are only able to pay less or who are not able to pay. 


Questions: Email us at, Use “Plastics” in the subject line.


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