Two environmentalists will appear at the G2 Gallery in Venice Thursday, September 10th to speak about their 2,000-mile bicycle ride from Vancouver, Canada to Tijuana, Mexico that was meant to call for the end of disposable plastics.

The event will begin with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by a lecture at 7 p.m. at the G2 Gallery, 1503 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. Admission is free and open to the public.

Santa Monica residents Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins launched JUNKride 2009 at the Vancouver Aquarium and headed south for lectures on the environmental and human health impacts of plastic marine pollution. They stopped at universities, schools, aquariums and the like in Seattle, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego and other big cities.

Eriksen, director of research and education with the Algalita Marine Research Foundation (AMRF), and Cummins, AMRF’s education advisor, pedaled to 15 cities in ten weeks for JUNKride 2009.

Their discussions are intended to bring attention to what they call the “plastic soup,” a large collection of plastic materials fouling the oceans.

Delivering dozens of presentations to educators, policymakers and the public, they showed photographs from a decade of research at sea including: a dead turtle trapped in a plastic lawn chair, an albatross carcass bulging with toothbrushes and bottle tops, the plastic stomach-contents of fish commonly served in restaurants.

“In ten years, the amount of trash floating out to sea has doubled,” Eriksen says. “We’ve got to find a better way soon. We’re already finding plastic waste in the food we eat.”

AMRF has focused its research on the North Pacific Gyre, a swirling vortex of ocean currents twice the size of the United States, in which a vast plastic buildup, or soup, is rapidly growing.

Eriksen, a Gulf War vet, sailed through the gyre from Long Beach to Hawaii last summer aboard Algalita’s JUNKraft made of 15,000 plastic bottles. For JUNKride, he and Cummins handed out 100 jars of debris-filled ocean water collected on the trip.

Eriksen and Cummins say there is no way to clean up the North Pacific Gyre’s plastic soup, but note that their manifesto is “do no more harm.” Along their route, they worked with legislators, educators and conservation organizations to promote ways to keep disposable plastics out of the ocean.

Information on the event, (310) 452-2842, or info@theg2gallery.com/.

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