‘We’ve seen albatrosses come back with their belly full of food for their young. You think it’s going to be squid, but it’s plastic’– Sir David Attenborough
NOTE: please listen to pt 1 and 2.1 as both are part of my “climate change should be our priority” series! Additionally, I have split pt 2.2 (this ep.) into two parts, 2.2.1 and 2.2.2 as the episode was getting very lengthy and the majority of you said you like to listen to shorter episodes!
Plastics, plastics, plastics….did I mention plastics? Just like climate change, It’s become almost impossible to avoid hearing something related to the plastic crisis we are currently in.
It might seem repetitive, but when we realise that we are consuming and inhaling microplastics in as high amounts as 74,000 pieces annually, it makes sense why we have emphasised so much on the issue. It makes sense when we talk about the environmental issue of plastics, its ability to contaminate land and oceans, kill aquatic and land animals, but what about climate change? Aren’t they two completely different problems we need to solve?
The short answer to that is absolutely NO but of course I never settle for a “short response” so to find out exactly why and how plastics are directly impacting climate change, alongside damaging our planet as a whole, listen to both pt 2.2.1 and 2.2.2 of my “climate change should be our priority” series!
What I will mention in this episode:
- Discussion of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the magnitude of the problem with plastics in oceans
- Explanation of the direct link between plastics and climate change
- Break down of the emissions produced in each stage of a plastic’s lifecycle
- Ways countries are tackling their issue of plastic pollution, in particular single-use plastics
- The problem of depending on recycling plastics as the solution for the plastic crisis
- Two main ways individuals can tackle the issue of recycling
- The four main alternatives to plastics, looking at their pros and cons
- The issue with biodegradable plastics/products and why they may not be the ideal replacement for plastic
Mentioned resources: (there’s a tonne lot more than usual so happy reading!)
- Information on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/
- Stats on the magnitude of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch: https://theoceancleanup.com/great-pacific-garbage-patch/
- Our consumption of plastics: https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/environment/2019/06/you-eat-thousands-bits-plastic-every-year
- Centre for International Environmental Law (CIEL)’s breakdown of the emissions in each stage of a plastic’s lifecycle: https://www.ciel.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Plastic-and-Climate-Executive-Summary-2019.pdf
- Nat Geo’s list of countries/nations tackling their single-use plastic issues: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/07/ocean-plastic-pollution-solutions/
- List of recyclable items for councils in the UK: https://www.recyclenow.com/local-recycling (people outside the UK, you can easily find what your council recycle online or if you contact them!)
- Discussion of the impact of glass production on climate change: https://blog.theplasticbottlescompany.com/environmental/articles/is-glass-or-plastic-better-for-the-environment
- Emissions related to paper production: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47027792
- Discussion of metal production impact on the environment: https://www.desjardin.fr/en/blog/environmental-impacts-of-plastics-vs.-metals-which-is-better
- Impact of biodegradable plastics on the environment: https://moralfibres.co.uk/biodegradable-plastics-good-for-environment/
- Differences between biodegradable, compostable and degradable: https://www.webstaurantstore.com/blog/454/biodegradable-degradable-and-compostable-whats-the-difference.html
- Plastic alternatives that do more harm than good: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/plastic-alternatives-doing-harm/
- Power of inaction: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/23/upset-about-the-plastic-crisis-stop-trying-so-hard
- The amazing Greta Thunberg’s Ted Talk! https://www.ted.com/talks/greta_thunberg_the_disarming_case_to_act_right_now_on_climate?language=en
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