Ep.5 Transcript: Message from Midway

Music
Taoudella by Blue Dot Sessions

Chris Jordan
Midway. That to me is like a whole philosophy of life in one word. Midway between all of the mistakes that have ever been made and the still unwritten story of our future.

Anja
Welcome to the Plastisphere, the podcast on plastic, people and the planet. My name is Anja Krieger. In this episode, I’ll bring you a story from an island in the Pacific, thousands of miles away from land. It’s called Midway Island, and it has shaped our image of ocean plastics.

Almost a decade ago, photographer Chris Jordan travelled to Midway to document the effects of plastic pollution. His images of dead sea birds with plastic in their guts went viral around the world. They were quite hard to look at.

It’s the little chicks of albatross, the birds that nest on the island. Their bones are laid bare and their feathers are withering away. But the things they ingested are still very much intact: You can make out a red cigarette lighter, a blue bottlecap, and even an entire yellow toothbrush. In fact, these birds were full of plastic.

Chris Jordan was so haunted by this sight that he decided to go back. The photographer visited the island again and again. And he discovered a new, and beautiful side of the story. That’s what his documentary film Albatross is all about. It’s a message from Midway, and what it can teach us.
Continue reading “Ep.5 Transcript: Message from Midway”

Ep.5: Message from Midway


Chris Jordan has taken some of the most iconic pictures to shape our image of plastic pollution. He traveled to Midway Island on his quest to photograph the evasive “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, which is really a soup of microplastics. There, he documented albatross chicks who had died with their guts full of plastic. His images went viral, but they also haunted him so much that he decided to return to the island. In this episode of the podcast, Chris tells Anja how working on his film “Albatross” transformed him and his view on tackling plastic pollution.

Music: Dorian Roy and Blue Dot Sessions

Cover art: Maren von Stockhausen

Thanks to: Markus Knigge, Kim Gruetzmacher of the Berlin Ocean Dinner, Ines, Susie, Volkart, Sara, Craig, Wicki and James at the Sonic Soirée Berlin, and Christiane Schulzki-Haddouti for editing the German post on RiffReporter

>>>Transcript with links, images and tweets: Coming soon!

Debunking plastic pollution myths

Grid Arendal, a Norwegian foundation, has put together a great fact-checking website called “Stop Talking Trash about Marine Litter” debunking the most wide-spread ocean-plastic myths. They have checked the following claims – click on the links to learn more:

  • “90% of the plastic in the oceans comes from 10 rivers” FALSE
  • “Cosmetics are the main source of microplastics” FALSE
  • “More plastic than fish in oceans by 2050” UNCERTAIN
  • “Plastic pollution is the biggest threat to the ocean” FALSE
  • “Microplastics are harmful to humans” UNKNOWN
  • “There is an island of trash in the Pacific Ocean” FALSE
  • “Collecting floating plastic will solve the problem” FALSE
  • “Biodegradable plastics are the answer to marine litter”FALSE
  • “A plastic bottle in the ocean disappears after 450 yrs” UNCERTAIN
  • “The problem of marine litter is too difficult, nothing I can do” FALSE
  •  
    Published: June 2018

     
    Peter Harris, who managed the project, also published a blogpost where he provides more background on the project.

    Best of 2018

    In 2018, media attention on plastic pollution skyrocketed. The United Nations dedicated their Environment Day to #BeatPlasticPollution, and National Geographic magazine put the issue on the cover and launched the #PlanetOrPlastic campaign. Here are my picks from the huge amount of reporting this year – fresh and insightful articles, podcasts and fact-checks that truly stood out.

    ENGLISH

    “How Plastic Is a Function of Colonialism”
    By Max Liboiron in Teen Vogue
    December 21, 2018

    The plastic backlash: what’s behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference?
    By Stephen Buranyi in the Guardian
    November 13, 2018

    Why the world’s recycling system stopped working
    By Leslie Hook, John Reed, David Blood (data), Ryn Jirenuwat in Financial Times
    October 25, 2018
    Recommended by Johanna Romberg

    Plasticphobia: Could the war on plastic have unintended consequences for the environment?
    By Sarah Swadling (Producer) and Tom Heap (Host) on BBC4
    October 24, 2018

    American Beauties – How plastic bags came to rule our lives, and why we can’t quit them
    By Rebecca Altman in Topic
    August 2018

    Disposable America and The First Straw
    By Alexis Madrigal in The Atlantic and 99% invisible with Roman Mars
    June 21, 2018 / September 4, 2018
    Recommended by Rebecca Altman

    “Stop Talking Trash about Marine Litter – Debunking the Myths about Plastic Debris in our Ocean”
    By the team at Grid Arendal
    June 2018

    Eight Million – A podcast series on China’s role in tackling the ocean plastics challenge
    By Marcy Trent Long and team at Sustainable Asia
    March-May, 2018

    GERMAN

    Plastikmüll: Für immer Dein [Plastic waste: Forever yours]
    By Dirk Asendorpf, Fritz Habekuß, Paul Middelhoff, Robert Pausch, Mathias Peer und Petra Pinzler
    April 18, 2018

    Ep.4 Transcript: Plastic vs. the Climate?


    Lilly Platt
    Well, we need to do something about it. We’re not going to do something about it tomorrow, we’re not going to do something about it yesterday, because we’re going to do it today! Because there’s no planet B. We only have this planet. And this is our Earth. We only have one chance.

    Music – Plink by Dorian Roy

    Anja
    Welcome to the Plastisphere, the podcast on plastic, people, and the planet. My name is Anja Krieger.

    Plastic pollution might be the most visible environmental issue we face today. But there are other kinds of pollution, and they are far harder to see. Like the huge amount of greenhouse gases that we emit into the atmosphere. These gases cause huge changes in our climate, with impacts that could last for millenia, and affect many generations to come. So in this episode, I’ll explore the connections between plastic pollution and climate change. Are these two issues buddies or enemies? Does plastic help or hurt our efforts to tackle climate change? Well, as with many relationships: It’s complicated.
    Continue reading “Ep.4 Transcript: Plastic vs. the Climate?”

    Ep.4: Plastic vs. the Climate?


    Plastic pollution might be the most visible environmental issue we face today. But there are other kinds of pollution, and they are far harder to see. One of the most dangerous is the huge amount of greenhouse gases that we emit into the atmosphere. In this episode, Anja explores the connections between plastic pollution and climate change. She talks to ocean expert and publisher Nikolaus Gelpke, youth activist Lilly Platt, oceanographer Sarah-Jeanne Royer and climate expert Gunnar Luderer to understand whether plastic and climate are buddies or enemies. As with many relationships: It’s complicated.

    Music: Dorian Roy and Blue Dot Sessions www.sessions.blue/
    Cover art: Maren von Stockhausen
    Thanks to: Eleanor Platt, Ines Blaesius, Kathleen Mar, Sasha Chapman, Christian Schwägerl, Marcy Trent Long of Sustainable Asia, Melanie Bergmann, Laura Markley, Simon Hirsbrunner, Martin Wagner, Kennedy Bucci, Alicia Mateos, Sam Athey.

    >>>Transcript with links, tweets and pictures to this episode

    Ep.3 Transcript: Waste picking

    Waste picking around the world

    Music – Aourouou / Blue Dot Sessions

    Christophe
    This is what we do for a living, this is recycling. This stuff get from the dumpside. In the evening we bring it here, we recycle, we have to separate, green bottles, they must be separated. So, that when you go to sell it, they can recycle it according to the colors. So, this is how we live in fact, we are only depending on such things. There’s nowhere we can find a job. It’s better to help government recycling like this. Because there’s noone who can do this.

    Anja
    Welcome to the Plastisphere, the podcast on plastic, people, and the planet. My name is Anja Krieger.

    Plastic has been leaking into the environment for many decades but it’s only now that we realize to what extent and what the consequences may be. Where does it all come from? What does it do to us and our environment? And how can we stop it? That’s what I want to explore in this podcast. Continue reading “Ep.3 Transcript: Waste picking”

    Ep.3: Waste picking around the world


    Anja calls up Dr. Jenna Jambeck and Amy Brooks from the University of Georgia on a research trip in Vietnam. In many Asian countries, a booming economy is coupled with more people using throw-away items. Informal recyclers and waste pickers who have traditionally sorted the waste cannot keep up. But, like millions of people around the world, they depend on waste as a resource for their livelihoods. How can the systems be reformed without leaving the people behind? To find out, Anja calls Dr. Sonia Maria Dias, a garbologist from Brazil.

    Music: Dorian Roy and Blue Dot Sessions
    Cover art: Maren von Stockhausen
    Thanks to: Ines Blaesius, Luisa Beck, Daniella Cheslow, the Wiego staff, and Karl Urban for editing the German version on RiffReporter

    >>>Transcript, links and pictures to this episode