The Story of Plastic

The Story of Plastic Film Screening 
 & Online Panel Discussion held
Wednesday, June 24 

 HoCo Climate Action, Less Plastic Please, and Howard County Sierra Club presented a panel discussion and Q&A on June 24, 2020, after the online screening of the powerful documentary, The Story of Plastic. During this extraordinary time of the pandemic and demands for racial and environmental justice, we organized the panel of experts who discussed all aspects of the plastic crisis. As we highlighted during the discussion, plastic pollution is an environmental justice and public health crisis: Fracking, plastics production, litter, and disposal in landfills and by incineration harm communities of color disproportionately. Social Justice. Racial Justice. Environmental Justice. We believe these are all part of a single, globally connected Movement for Justice.

THE STORY OF PLASTIC takes a sweeping look at the crisis of plastic pollution and its threat to all life on our planet. Spanning three continents, the film illustrates the ongoing catastrophe: fields full of garbage, mountains of trash, rivers and seas clogged with waste, and skies choked with the poisonous emissions from plastic production and processing.

View the trailer HERE. Information to watch the film is HERE.




TAKE ACTION and RESOURCES provided by panelists listed by topic.

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Special Thanks to:

The Planning Committee

Liz Feighner, Charlie Goedeke, Pat Hershey,

Elisabeth Hoffman, Carolyn Parsa, Ruth Alice White


Technical Support from Maryland Sierra Club

Martha Ainsworth, Chair, Zero Waste Committee

Gary Young, Webinar Support

Ron Kaltenbaugh, Video Editor


Grant from Food and Water Watch

Email with any questions.

Panelists for Discussion of “The Story of Plastic”

Alex has a BS in Environmental Geography and a BA in United States History; he earned both in just four years from Ohio University. Alex describes himself as a born naturalist; his mother is an artist and landscape painter, and his father is a landscaper and horticulturalist.

His first exposure to the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC) was in 1995, when he was just 6 years old. He still remembers the scratch-and-sniff sticker his family received in the mail during OVEC’s successful campaign to stop the paper mill in Apple Grove, only 10 miles from his family’s hilltop farm in Pliny, WV. Alex now lives off-grid on that hilltop farm next to Westvaco Company property that would have been clear cut if the pulp mill had been built.

Alex was previously employed as an extension agent with WV State University. He also volunteered with OVEC’s water quality monitoring project, gathering baseline data from streams impacted by the Mountaineer Express Pipeline.

Alex’s grassroots organizing work is now focused on stopping the proposed Appalachian Storage Hub/petrochemical complex (ASH) proposed for the region.He is also leading the Re-Imagine Our Appalachian Region (ROAR) project, which promotes sustainable living and community-driven sustainable economic development in the Ohio and Kanawha River Valleys as an alternative to ASH. His background as a naturalist, extension agent, off-grid farmer, landscaper, and permaculturalist provides a wealth of experience for this work.

David Pinsky, senior plastics campaigner, Greenpeace USA                                                                

David Pinsky is a senior plastics campaigner with Greenpeace USA, based in Oakland. Since joining Greenpeace in 2009, David has led nationwide campaigns on climate and energy, seafood, and now, plastics. 

David specializes in corporate campaigns that move companies contributing to the plastic pollution crisis away from single-use plastics, with a focus on the U.S. retail, foodservice, and consumer goods sectors. He has authored several Greenpeace reports, including Carting Away the Oceans, Sea of Distress, and Packaging Away the Planet. 

David’s work has appeared in The Associated Press, USA Today, Houston Chronicle, NBC, NPR, HuffPost, Teen Vogue, Newsweek, and Forbes. 

David holds a master’s in psychology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Kentucky.

Sarah Nichols, Sustainable Maine director, Natural Resources Council of Maine

Sarah is a waste and recycling policy expert with more than 10 years of experience working on local and state policy in New England. In her role at the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM), the state’s leading environmental advocacy organization, she works with stakeholders to pass sustainable waste policies, monitors existing programs, and protects the state from environmental rollbacks. She and NRCM were successful in helping to pass Maine’s single-use plastic bag ban and foam food ware ban. They are deeply committed to protecting and expanding Maine’s extended-producer-responsibility policies. 

Sarah has a B.S. in Environmental Resource Economics from the University of New Hampshire, and an M.S. in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Josh Feldmark, director, Howard County Office of Community Sustainability

Joshua Feldmark is the Director of Howard County’s Office of Community Sustainability where he manages environmental and sustainability policy for Howard County and leads multi-departmental coordination on sustainability issues. From 2008-2014, Joshua served as the founding Director of the Howard County Office of Environmental Sustainability. In that position, he established the inter-departmental framework for the office to elevate sustainability issues across all aspects of County Government.

Immediately prior to his return to County Government, Josh split his time as the Executive Director of two organizations. Josh was the Director of Bike Maryland, which works to promote bicycling, increase safety, improve conditions, and provide a voice for bicyclists in Maryland. He was also Executive Director of Our Maryland, which is the state’s largest digital platform for telling the progressive movement’s stories and is a hub for information about ideas and policies that matter to all Marylanders.

Prior to beginning his work at Howard County, Joshua was a consultant with Dismantling Racism Works, the Executive Director of a Washington DC based environmental advocacy nonprofit, and an AmeriCorps member in the Tributary Strategies program at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. He has served as Chair of the Board for Howard EcoWorks and the Columbia Association and as a member of the Governor's Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities, the Howard County Green Business Council, the Board of Directors for the Center for Diversity and the Environment, and the US Green Building Council of Maryland.

He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Ecology from Rutgers University and summa cum laude with a Masters in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School.

Ali DySard, environmental & partnership manager, MOM’s Organic Market 

Alexandra DySard is the Environmental & Partnership Manager for MOM’s Organic Market. She is also a board member with Trash Free Maryland and the Maryland Pesticide Education Network. She has a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Washington, Seattle and has held positions at the EPA, City of Bellevue, and Pacific Science Center.

She is an experienced environmental professional in sustainability planning, material management, natural resource conservation, and state and federal environmental policy. Alexandra is an outdoor and zero waste enthusiast currently residing in Baltimore, MD.

Brooke Lierman is currently in her second term in the Maryland House of Delegates, representing Maryland’s 46th Legislative District in the City of Baltimore. She currently serves on the House Environment and Transportation Committee, where she is Chair of the Land Use and Ethics Subcommittee. She successfully sponsored Maryland’s statewide ban on expanded polystyrene foam food containers – the first in the nation – passed in 2019 and due to go into effect in July 2020. During the 2020 legislative session, she led the campaign in the House of Delegates for passage of the Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act (HB109), which would ban plastic carryout bags, require retailers to charge for other carryout bags, and establish a work group on single-use packaging. 

From 2015-2019 she served on the House Appropriations Committee, where she played a major role in managing Maryland’s more than $42 billion budget, prioritizing funds for education, services for people with disabilities, and public transit, and holding state agencies accountable for fiscal responsibility and program performance. She has carried and won passage of statewide legislative initiatives to: improve public transportation; stem the school-to-prison pipeline by prohibiting suspensions and expulsions of pre-K to 2nd graders in public schools; eliminate sex trafficking and aid its victims; and fund evidence-based gun violence prevention programs at the state level. She has championed legislation related to child care access and the rights of low-wage workers.

Brooke also practices as a civil rights attorney. She represents blind and/or deaf students, individuals in civil rights claims, and low-wage workers suing for their wages. She successfully represented a wrongfully-convicted man who served 25 years in jail in a civil suit against the Baltimore Police Department. Her pro bono activities include assistance with expungements and representation of young undocumented immigrants.

Brooke graduated from Dartmouth College, and attended the University of Texas School of Law. Prior to law school, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at The DREAM Program in Burlington, Vermont, and worked as Special Assistant at the Center for American Progress. In 2017, she was named Legislator of the Year by Maryland Hunger Solutions for her work on hunger issues, and a Green Legislative Champion by the Maryland League of Conservation Workers. The Maryland Public Health Association named her the Legislator of the Year in 2018. She has been listed in The Daily Record’s Top 100 Women in Maryland, the Baltimore Sun Magazine’s 50 Women to Watch, The Daily Record’s Leading Women list, Baltimore Magazine’s 40 Under 40, and as a Maryland Rising Star since 2013 in Super Lawyers.