Cornell Online Course: Plastics: Impacts and Action


Date and Time:

Monday, March 14, 2022, 9:00am to Sunday, April 10, 2022, 11:59pm

Registration Deadline:

Monday, March 14, 2022, 11:59pm


We invite you to join our new, 5-week, online course—Plastics: Impacts and Action—starting March 14! And share the link with your friends, family, colleagues, and students--anyone who is interested in helping the environment. 

This new course explores the multiple ways we interact with plastics, and uses plastics to investigate the complex dynamic systems shaping our planet and our lives. During the course we will apply critical thinking and systems thinking to learn 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, plastic sculptures, reuse initiatives, and so much more! This is a unique opportunity to be part of an online learning community taking action against plastic pollution.

The course is largely asynchronous--meaning you can access the short lectures, readings, and other materials when it’s convenient for you. We also hold weekly webinars (recorded for those who can’t make it) as well as optional weekly office hours.    

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 2-4 page report describing your action and reflections.
  5. Participate actively in a global online community of plastic-concerned citizens.

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