Environment

O’Neill Sea Odyssey Hosting Virtual Earth Day Event

Event to focus on solutions to help end tobacco waste

Creator of the Cigarette Surfboards, Taylor Lane will speak at the virtual Earth Day event put on by O’Neill Sea Odyssey and other local organizations. photo courtesy of O'Neill Sea Odyssey

On Thursday, April 22, O’Neill Sea Odyssey and its partners will celebrate the 51st anniversary of Earth Day with a free, virtual event from 6-7pm. 

The evening will begin with a presentation by Taylor Lane and Ben Judkins, founders of The Cigarette Surfboard. Lane and Judkins will talk about their experience as artists, designers, filmmakers, surfers, and ocean activists who aim to keep marine environments free of harmful plastic pollution, especially the most littered item on Earth: the cigarette butt. 

The two have traveled across the globe, collaborating with musicians such as Jack Johnson and professional surfers like Cliff Kapono, raising awareness about the tobacco industry through their surfboards made of tens of thousands of retrieved cigarette butts, according to a press release from O’Neill Sea Odyssey.

“A lot of times, people think we are too far gone to save our planet from destruction,” Lane said in the press release. “What the Ciggy Boards symbolize to me is that we, as humans, have designed these problems for ourselves, and we can redesign our way out of this. We just need some inspiration to take us there. The future is what we make of it.”

A panel of experts will then join Lane and Judkins in conversation about public health and tobacco during Covid-19, updates on local tobacco waste policymaking, and other ocean advocacy issues. 

Experts include Santa Cruz Councilwoman Martine Watkins and Santa Cruz County public health educator Tara Leonard.

Watkins, who also serves as the Santa Cruz County Office of Education’s Tobacco Use Prevention Education Program coordinator, said she appreciated Lane and Judkins’ activism.  

“Their ability to engage the public on this issue is inspiring,” Watkins said in the press release. “Our program hopes to instill an ethic against toxic waste while promoting health, especially for our youth, and Taylor and Ben are role models in their advocacy against the tobacco industry.” 

The evening will conclude with a question and answer session followed by ways to get involved. The event is free and family-friendly. 

To register, visit: bit.ly/3g4RAWI.

This program is a partnership between O’Neill Sea Odyssey, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education’s Tobacco Use Prevention Education Program, the Santa Cruz County Tobacco Education Coalition, and The Cigarette Surfboard. 

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