Plastics: Impacts and Action


Plastics: Impacts and Action

Blue background graphic with a photo of a cloudy sky lit by a sunset. On top of the photo is a bold yellow text overlay that says, "Plastics: Impacts and Action." The white Cornell Univeristy logo is below.

Plastics: Impacts and Action

Cornell University online course
April 1–28, 2024 (4 weeks)
Register now:
Registration fee: $70
Cornell University certificate

Click here to learn more and register


The Civic Ecology Lab at Cornell University offers a 4-week online course titled "Plastics: Impacts and Action," scheduled from April 1 to April 28, 2024. This course is designed for educators, teachers, students, policy-makers, community leaders, and volunteers interested in learning about the environmental and social impacts of plastics.

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.

2 by 2 grid of photos. From top left clockwise: a photo of a bearded person carrying a bunch of plastic bottles at a beach clean up, a group of people standing with their arms up and in a swirl arc formation, a sea turtle grabbing a plastic bag underwater, and a brown spotted butterfly on a bunch of tiny yellow flowers. There is also text on top of each photo, respectively: Action, Community, Conservation, Stewardship.

Learning Outcomes

  • 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.
  • Discuss the feasibility and effectiveness of plastic governance approaches.
  • Develop and implement a locally-relevant action to address plastic pollution.
  • Critically reflect on the experience and outcomes of your plastic pollution intervention and write a 1-page report describing your action and reflections.
  • Participate actively in a global online community of plastic-concerned citizens.

Click here to learn more and register

Cornell University Certificate

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

Cornell University Civic Ecology Lab Certificate

Meet Our Instructors Team!

Profile photos of Instructors Bethany Jorgensen PhD, Marianne Krasny PhD; Co-instructors Alex Kudryavtsev PhD, Fish Yu; Co-instructors in Korea Unji Lee and Bomyung Seo. Text aligned right says, "As you learn with us, you will be supported by our experienced and dynamic team! Instructors include Bethany Jorgensen and Marianne Krasny. The course team also includes several co-instructors, teaching assistants, and administrators. We cannot wait to have you in our course!"

Cost: $70

Standard registration fee is $70, reflecting outstanding value. Our courses rely on community contributions, supported by most participants. In the spirit of solidarity and equity, you may choose to contribute $120, sponsoring a fellow learner, or opt for a reduced/no fee if facing financial challenges or residing in regions without international payment access (e.g., Afghanistan, Iran).


If you still have questions, feel free to ask Amy Daniel and Kim Snyder, our course administrators. When you contact us, please type "Plastics" in the subject line of your email.

Profile photos of Course Administrators Amy Daniel and Kim Snyder, MS

The Cornell University Civic Ecology Lab team looks forward to welcoming you to this course!

Click here to learn more and register

Logos of the Civic Ecology Lab and Cornell University