From the Nominator
This entry looks at the problem of the most useful and ubiquitous material ever invented: plastic. Each year, billions of tons of consumer and industrial plastics end up in the oceans, polluting habitats, spoiling marine life, and even entering the human food chain. The story is told through a transatlantic boat trip taken by alumna Agustina Besada, an activist and entrepreneur who set out to find solutions to a global problem that seems intractable. As Besada voyages from New York to Europe and to South America to find alternatives and strategies to reduce consumption, we hear from Columbia alumni and faculty experts: a biochemist, waste engineers, marine biologists, and historians. Ultimately, the article prompts us to think about plastic use in our own lives.
From the Judges
Fantastic, relevant story. Wonderfully weaved in Columbia experts. The writer knows how to evoke emotion and put the reader at the location. Beautifully written.