Plastic Beyond Straws: What can we do?

Companies have begun to take notice of the environmental impact of widespread use of their products and many have taken strides to reduce that effect, like no longer using straws for to-go drinks. But is that enough to remedy our plastic issues? This panel will discuss ways we can cut out single-use and virgin plastics from our everyday lives, minimize our impacts on the environment through sustainable practices, and hopefully reverse the effects we’ve already had on our oceans through laws, regulation, or litigation.

  • Mark Benfield, LSU College of the Coast & Environment

Mark Benfield is a biological oceanographer who is a Professor in the College of the Coast and Environment, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences at LSU. He is also a Guest Investigator in the Biology Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. markbenfield2 He received his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, an M.Sc. from the University of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa, and a B.Sc. from the University of Toronto. His research examines zooplankton ecology, deep-sea ecology, and microplastics pollution in Louisiana coastal waters.



  • Jane Patton

Jane Patton serves as interim coordinator of the US arm of the Break Free From Plastic movement, in addition to coordinating the movement’s global corporate campaign activities. Jane Patton Headshot_B&W.jpgA lifelong Louisiana resident, she also co-founded No Waste Louisiana, a local education and advocacy group supporting zero waste practices and policies in communities across the state.





  • John Fallon

John Fallon is the Director of Sustainability & Coastal Conservation at Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans, LA, where he helped establish Audubon’s sustainable seafood program, Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries (G.U.L.F.), in August of 2012. G.U.L.F. works across all five Gulf Coast states, creating and managing sustainability projects that engage all levels of the supply chain, from boat to plate. John-Fallon_Headshot.jpgJohn also oversees Audubon’s Coastal Wildlife Network (CWN), which is responsible for the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of injured sea turtles and marine mammals in Louisiana waters. In addition to those responsibilities, John focuses on the overall improvement of green practices across Audubon campuses.




  • Chad Morabito