Why we need a prevention-based solution to plastic and microplastic pollution
Why are plastic pieces so problematic when they end up in our oceans? How can focusing on preventative solutions to tackling plastic and micro-plastic pollution help us to more effectively address this global issue?
Sharing his wisdom here is Dr. Marcus Eriksen, the Co-Founder and Research Director of 5 Gyres Institute. In this episode, you'll hear about his research on microplastic pollution leading to the passing of our federal Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015; why he thinks we need to focus more on stopping plastic from entering our waterways in the first place instead of on cleaning up plastics already in our oceans; and more. Let's dive in.
[2:27] What inspired Marcus's passion for nature.
[4:21] Marcus discusses his active deployment in the Gulf War and how seeing the ecological impact of war affected him.
[5:30] Marcus: "I've got to preserve and conserve the world around me. That's my duty; that's what's worth fighting for."
[6:38] The founding story of 5 Gyres Institute.
[8:16] Marcus discusses the issue of microbeads in the Great Lakes and how the 5 Gyres Institute fought for (and won) the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015.
[10:14] Kamea: "Do you ever feel frustrated or helpless about the current state [of the environment]?"
[11:18] Marcus: "Prevention is key."
[14:07] Marcus speaks on the linear waste system and how that system needs to change into a circular system.
[17:37] Marcus: "Start where you are from home. Zero-waste your home, your school, your office. And that means looking at the kinds of products you buy and realize you're not just buying the product, you're buying the packaging also."
[19:02] What makes plastic toxic for the environment and detrimental to the economy.
[25:45] Marcus discusses how the burden of pollution has changed from resting on the consumers' shoulders alone to consumers sharing the load with unsustainable corporations.
[27:19] Kamea: "It's important for us to also know that we all have to work together. It's consumers; it's businesses; it's governments. We have to all collaborate with each other."
[29:25] Marcus explains what a circular economy and zero-waste system could look like.
Dr. Marcus Eriksen is the Co-founder and Research Director of 5 Gyres Institute. After co-publishing the first global estimate and the discovery of plastic microbeads in the Great Lakes, he used his research findings to draft up the federal Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 and helped to get it passed.
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Note to self: “Never give up. Be in it for the long-haul."
Health practice: "I walk and do yoga."
Sustainability practice: "Ride your bike when you can."
Element of hope: "My six-year-old daughter constantly tells me how the world should be."
Closing words: "Never give up, there are millions of us, and there is a greener world ahead."