Microplastics Podcast

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Episode 1: It’s not only the size of them, it’s the shape of them, it’s their community

In this episode, Maite Maldonado and Sepideh Pakpour discuss the dangers that microplastics pose for human health and the environment and share some steps that their research group is taking to tackle this global challenge.

Topics discussed in this episode include:

  • What are microplastics and why do we care about them?
  • How the UBC microplastics cluster is bringing together different disciplines to solve big problems
  • The importance of non-academic partners and students in shaping and tackling the plastics problem
  • Why Canada is playing a leading role in reducing plastic pollutions
  • And how you can make a difference!

Both Dr. Maite Maldonado and Dr. Sepideh Pakpour are members of the UBC Cluster for Microplastics, Health and the Environment, which brings together a highly interdisciplinary group of scholars aiming to ultimately support the development of informed policies regarding plastics pollution. 

UBC is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam First Nation on the Point Grey campus, and the Syilx Peoples on the Okanagan campus.

This episode was produced for the UBC Cluster for Microplastics, Health and the Environment by Hikma Strategies. It includes original music composed by Matthew Tomkinson, the 2022 Hikma Artist in Residence. This score interweaves musical notes and the crunching and clicking of plastic to evoke the omnipresence of microplastics throughout our ecosystem. Matthew holds a PhD in Theatre Studies from the University of British Columbia. 

Recording Date: Mar 4, 2022

Episode Transcript


Episode 2: The starting point doesn’t have to be the beginning or the end

In this wide-ranging conversation, we talk with Brian Hunt about his research with herring around Denman Island, how microplastics can enter the food web, and why tackling microplastics requires a multi-directional approach and all levels of action. Brian also shares his story about how an obsession with fish and an opportunity to join an Antarctic voyage helped shape his career, and how he (somewhat reluctantly) joined the research effort to help tackle the microplastics problem.

Topics discussed in this episode include:

  • What a research study in microplastics looks like, from the perspective of a marine biologist who never planned to be a marine biologist
  • How to navigate the vast systems involved in the plastics problem by identifying a place to start and working outwards
  • The exciting potential of the UBC microplastics cluster to bring together different disciplines and partners to solve complex problems
  • And the many benefits of doing this work in British Columbia!

Dr. Brian Hunt is a member of the UBC Cluster for Microplastics, Health and the Environment, which brings together a highly interdisciplinary group of scholars aiming to ultimately support the development of informed policies regarding plastics pollution.

UBC is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam First Nation on the Point Grey campus, and the Syilx Peoples on the Okanagan campus.

This episode was produced for the UBC Cluster for Microplastics, Health and the Environment by Hikma Strategies. It includes original music composed by Matthew Tomkinson, the 2022 Hikma Artist in Residence. This score interweaves musical notes and the crunching and clicking of plastic to evoke the omnipresence of microplastics throughout our ecosystem. Matthew holds a PhD in Theatre Studies from the University of British Columbia. 

Recording Date: Apr 1, 2022

Episode Transcript


Episode 3: Plastics don’t exist in a vacuum

Because plastics are embedded into the ways that we consume and how we have organized our industrial ecosystem, they present an extremely challenging and important science policy issue. In this eye-opening conversation, Amanda Giang and Rashid Sumaila take us on a journey into the world of research-informed policy making.

Topics discussed in this episode include:

  • The importance of interdisciplinarity for informing policy and intervention strategies for microplastics
  • Examples of how academic research makes its way into policy decisions, including speaking after Leonardo DiCaprio at an ocean conference.
  • How students and trainees in this field are driving research and pushing for the interdisciplinary training that they need to become future leaders
  • The concept of environmental justice and how tackling the plastics problem could be an opportunity to rethink policy making in general

Both Dr. Amanda Giang and Dr. Rashid Sumaila are members of the UBC Cluster for Microplastics, Health and the Environment, which brings together a highly interdisciplinary group of scholars aiming to ultimately support the development of informed policies regarding plastics pollution. 

UBC is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam First Nation on the Point Grey campus, and the Syilx Peoples on the Okanagan campus.

This episode was produced for the UBC Cluster for Microplastics, Health and the Environment by Hikma Strategies. It includes original music composed by Matthew Tomkinson, the 2022 Hikma Artist in Residence. This score interweaves musical notes and the crunching and clicking of plastic to evoke the omnipresence of microplastics throughout our ecosystem. Matthew holds a PhD in Theatre Studies from the University of British Columbia. 

Recording Date: Feb 28, 2022

Episode Transcript


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