Our Story

A New Type of Media Platform

PoP is the only multicultural media platform of its kind, publishing stories by BIPOC for BIPOC. We focus on uplifting our people’s environmental justice stories and we do so in a way that is both nuanced, sensitive, and in-depth. Our approach is to build community relationships first.

Our job is to tell raw and unfiltered stories from the frontlines. We take a non-traditional approach to environmental storytelling and focus on race, culture, politics. We empower our audiences to listen first and consider specific community-driven solutions and calls to actions from impacted communities directly. Our ethos is simple: deliver trusted stories for our people.

How did we get here?

Back in 2021, Shilpi Chhotray and Patrice Simms came together to launch a multicultural media platform that would feature the stories of people most heavily impacted by plastic pollution, climate change, and environmental injustice. With her many years of experience serving as a media liaison for the Break Free from Plastic global movement, Chhotray was a go-to source on plastic pollution, climate change and intersectionality. She frequently made appearances in the NY Times, NPR, Rolling Stone, BBC, and Al Jazeera. It did not take long for Chhotray to discover that select perspectives dominate the environmental discourse, while other voices are simply ignored.

Patrice Simms currently serves as the VP of Litigation for Healthy Communities at EarthJustice. And as an environmental lawyer with decades of experience in the non-profit space, teaching, and in government - including as a professor at Howard Law and at Harvard Law, as an attorney with the Environmental Protection Agency, and as a political appointee with the Department of Justice - Simms has a deep understanding of how environmental law and policy fail the communities most in need of protection. Together, Chhotray and Simms recognized the urgency and need for storytelling that influenced hearts and minds.


People over Plastic seeks to create a cultural and media hub centered on environmental justice, bringing together leaders, activists, journalists, artists, and community members for thought-provoking and accessible dialogues.


People over Plastic’s mission is to start inclusive and solutions-oriented dialogues that center environmental justice and power an anti-racist future.

Core Values

Meet people where they are
We make digestible and shareable information and events accessible for audiences, including emphasizing key connections around social, racial, and climate justice.
Decolonize narratives
We center a counter-narrative to the stories often guided by whiteness.
Pass the mic
We amplify the stories of climate justice voices and their call-to-actions, with a focus on untold and historically excluded narratives.
We focus on trust by emphasizing lived experiences and research that acts as a starting point for audiences to learn more about the climate and plastic crisis.

Executive Team

Shilpi Chhotray
Co-Founder and President
Patrice Simms
Co-Founder and Strategic Advisor
Michael McKenzie
Executive Director


Mindy Ramaker
Head of Creative
Alexis Young
Multimedia Journalist
Mary Black
Digital Media Strategist
Dennis Maxwell
Lead Producer

Advisory Council

Lance Blair
Senior Benefits and Employee Engagement Manager, Liquid Death; Advisor, People over Plastic
Abre' Conner
Director, Environmental and Climate Justice, NAACP; Advisor, People over Plastic
Bryce Cracknell
Founder and Executive Editor, The Margin; Advisor, People over Plastic
Bakeyah Nelson
Founder, Community Health Collaborative Consulting, LLC; Advisor, People over Plastic
Frankie Orona
Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Society of Native Nations, Environmental liaison for his Tribal Chief Red Blood - Anthony Morales of the Gabrielino Tongva San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians; Advisor, People over Plastic
© People over Plastic 2024
© People over Plastic 2023