Kategorie: English

Plastisphere, the podcast on plastic, people, and the planet


This is an independent project. You can support me on Patreon or RiffReporter. Find more info on the project website, Twitter, Soundcloud, Facebook, RiffReporter (German), and Instagram.

Bioplastics article makes most-read list at Ensia

In cooperation with Ensia, the solutions-focused nonprofit media outlet reporting on our changing planet, I reported on biobased and biodegradable plastics. My article made it into the list of ten best-read articles on the platform in 2019. More on Ensia: From nuclear power to school food waste, our top stories 2019

Are bioplastics a greener alternative to conventional plastics?

Confusion among terms like bioplastics, bio-based and biodegradable plastics makes it hard to discern — and make — the environmentally responsible choice. Article on Ensia, republished by Undark Magazine, The Revelator, The Wire, and others.

In Schleswig for Undark

Schleswig is a small town in the North of Germany. This spring, a major plastic leak there sparked a debate in Germany: Can a circular economy include shredding food waste and packaging together? For Undark, I went to Schleswig to find out what had happened:

For the sake of science, it’s time to break ranks

Researchers call for a change in evaluation to recognise the importance of reproducibility. Bibliometric indicators that reward scientists for publishing frequently in high-ranked journals — but not for making their methods accessible — are a major cause of the reproducibility crisis, researchers agreed at the latest EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF). Read my article in Nature …

Fact-checking discussion at ESOF2018

At the Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) in Toulouse, I participated in a panel discussion with editors and fact-checkers from Undark and Der Spiegel. Thanks to the journalists, scientists and science communicators who attended and contributed to our discussion. Here are some tweeted bits: Fact checking! @DerSPIEGEL has a separate person like Maximilian Schäfer fact check …

Phasing out nuclear in Germany

Radio report for PRI’s The World

Ensia Best of Year

My long-read „What will it take to get plastics out of the oceans?“ featured in the „Ensia Best of Year“ print edition (online on Issuu)

Equality or Excellence?

Germany’s Excellence Initiative was highly debated. With its successor approved, scientists are asking whether equality and scientific freedom can be preserved in a world of competition. Read my article in Nature Outlook

Knight Science Journalism Fellowship

Together with nine Fellows from Argentina, Canada and the U.S., I spent nine months as a 2015-16 Knight Science Journalism Fellow in Cambridge on the U.S. East Coast. Above our graduation day, with (left to right): KSJ Founding Director Victor McElheny, Ashley Smart, Courtney Humphries, Christopher Ketcham, Zack Colman, Sasha Chapman, Federico Kukso, Rod McCullom, …

Sasha Chapman underwater

This winter, MIT physicist Allan Adams and underwater photographer Keith Ellenbogen teamed up to turn a coral reef into their classroom. It was an experience Sasha Chapman, one of their students, will never forget.

Underwater Emergency Exits

Daniel Stepputtis of the Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries explains how to reduce bycatch with smarter fishing nets.

What will it take to get plastics out of the ocean?

From drones to filters to gigantic cleaning arrays, innovators are working to reduce the threat thousands of tons of trash pose to marine ecosystems. But how realistic are their plans, and how much of a difference will they be able to make? Read my article on Ensia An Earth Journalism Network Future Oceans Story, re-published …

Solar pilots: Piccard and Borschberg


My interview with André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard on flying a solar airplane, their tour around the world, and how their technology could advance sustainable progress on the ground.

Transition Struggles

Italian journalists Silvia Giannelli, Elena Roda, and I did a joint project on the energy transition in our countries. The research was co-funded by the Council of Europe’s Mediane program, allowing us to conduct interviews in both Italy and Germany. Here you can read about the outcome of our research: RTCC: The energy bridge – …

The Climate News Mosaic

The Climate News Mosaic was a collaborative project of journalists from around the world to report on climate issues. During the COP-19 and COP-21 United Nations Climate Change Conferences in Warsaw and Paris we ran a daily live blog

Daniela Silva über den Hackerbus

Wenn in einer brasilianischen Kleinstadt ein Reisebus anhält und statt Stadtführung ein politischer Workshop dabei heraus kommt, stehen die Chancen nicht schlecht, Daniela Silva zu treffen. Mit dem Hacker Bus aus São Paulo bringt die junge Frau die Kultur der Hacker und Selbermacher in den Rest des Landes

Al Banda über Netzwerke in Afrika

In vielen afrikanischen Ländern ist es noch schwer, ins Netz zu kommen. So haben von etwa 20 Millionen Kamerunern erst eine Million Zugang zum Netz, berichtet Al Banda

Bandi Mbubi on Conflict Coltan

  „There’s nothing wrong with the technology. But we have to ensure that we are not financing the war“. Tantalum is extracted from coltan and used in mobile phones. One of the places where the raw material is mined is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire. Here Bandi Mbubi spent the first 21 …

Rodolfo Soler on Saving IT Energy

  Rodolfo Soler is a 23-year old mechanical engineer from Spain specializing in thermal power plants. He believes that we waste a lot of energy by failing to chose the right devices for the tasks we want to perform: For simple tasks like browsing the web or watching a video, we don’t need powerful computers …

Nikolai Maximenko and Gisela Speidel on Plastic in the Oceans

In early 2011, I had the chance to meet with Nikolai Maximenko and Jan Hafner, oceanographers at the International Pacific Research Center in Hawai’i, and talk to them about the problem of marine debris and plastic trash in the oceans.

Megan Lamson on Plastic Debris at Kamilo Beach, Hawai’i

In March 2011, I interviewed marine biologist Megan Lamson, who works for the Hawai’i Wildlife Fund and organizes beach cleanups at Kamilo Beach at Ka’alu’alu Bay. Some of these quotes were used in this German radio feature. Here are the snippets without German voice-over.

Improving the Aid Sector With Open Data

Interview with Peter Eigen of Transparency International at Open Aid Data Conference 2011 in Berlin Mr. Eigen, how can Open Data, opening up data treasures, improve the development sector? Peter Eigen: At Transparency International we’ve observed that countries with an open approach to information, like the Scandinavian countries, rank in the upper spheres of our …