Public invited to a free screening and discussion of the film “A Plastic Ocean”

For our ocean, the future is dependent on waves of change.
And every one of us has the power to take seemingly ordinary small steps that will add up to an extraordinary whole.

Plastic garbage is choking the seas and harming animals, but scientists know the cause of the problem, its scope – and hearteningly, ways to help heal the sickened seas.

The award-winning film “A Plastic Ocean” is both eye-opening and inspirational, compelling, telling the story of plastic garbage fouling the ocean with unflinching detail that becomes an eye-opening call to action.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, in cooperation with the City of Tacoma and the University of Washington Tacoma, has arranged a free public mini-screening of the documentary April 19 in William Philip Hall on the UWT campus, 1918 Pacific Ave.

The condensed version of the film will be followed by fast-paced discussion about how scientists, environmentalists and others are taking action to combat the increasing threat of 8 million tons of plastic – a garbage truck’s worth each minute – pouring into the ocean each year.

Members of the public can take individual action, too, and the evening’s program will include activities to help audience members learn how to reduce their use of plastics, said Karen Povey, Conservation Engagement Manager for Metro Parks Tacoma’s Zoological & Environmental Education division.

“This is a powerful film, and we believe it can be the impetus for individuals to think about plastics in a different light and take steps to eliminate them from their daily lives,” Povey said. The doors for this evening of learning open at 6:30 p.m.

“We encourage people to come early,” Povey said. “Several government agencies and community organizations will be on hand with valuable information for audience members. Our hope is that people will leave with new knowledge and a personal pledge to take action in their lives to reduce their use of plastic bags, bottles, straws and other items.”

The panel discussion following the film will include Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi; Julie Masura of UWT, who will talk about research into microplastics; Kristin Lynett, Sustainability Manager for the City of Tacoma’s Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability, who will discuss the city’s upcoming Bring Your Own Bag ordinance; and Povey who will talk about ways people can “Go Plastic-Free to Save our Sea.”

The showing of the film and discussion comes on the eve of the opening of the Washed Ashore exhibit at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Ten larger-than-life figures of sea creatures sculpted from plastic trash that washed up on Oregon beaches will be displayed at the zoo beginning April 22. To stand and stare up at an 8-foot, 6-inch tall 1,500-pound penguin made entirely of plastic garbage is both intriguing and sobering.

“Those of us who live in the Puget Sound region have a special relationship with the world’s ocean waters and the animals that inhabit them,” Povey said. “We are confident that the Washed Ashore exhibit will help inspire our community to ditch single-use plastic bottles for reusable vessels, to say no to straws and to either opt out of bags at stores or bring reusable ones for groceries and other purchases. We want Tacoma – and the rest of our region – to Go Plastic-Free to Save Our Sea.”

What: Free public screening of a condensed version of the award-winning film, “A Plastic Ocean,” followed by a panel discussion on the issue of the garbage that is choking our ocean.
When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 19
Where: University of Washington Tacoma, William Philip Hall, 1918 Pacific Ave.

- MetroParks Tacoma

Photo by Morf Morford

Photo by Morf Morford