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: Millions of waste pickers

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: Millions of waste pickers”

Ep.3: Millions of waste pickers


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

Playlist

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