Themes of the Week: Hunger and Plastic

There were some prestigious guests at Capilano University this past week.  Douglas Coutts, a senior advisor with the United Nations World Food Program, and Captain Charles Moore, advocate for the oceans of the world.  Douglas Coutts has developed an interdisciplinary minor in Hunger Studies at Auburn University in Alabama and is encouraging other educational institutions to develop similar models.  Charles Moore has written the book Plastic Ocean to raise awareness about the horrific impacts to marine life caused by our insatiable production and discarding of plastic (The image above is from  When Captain Moore signed my copy of his book I noticed he was wearing a necklace made of coloured bits and bobs of plastic debris found on the beach.  The contemporary version of the shark tooth necklace worn by seafarers of the past?  Both types of adornment are sad, but for different reasons.

These men have such passion and zeal for what they’re doing, in spite of the scale of the issues and the heart wrenching things they’ve witnessed.  A lesson in not being paralyzed by the scope of the world’s problems, but rather painstakingly, consistently, and incrementally working to change things, and inspiring and encouraging others to do so.


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