Sponsored by the Independent Social Research Foundation.
Despite the global movement to tackle plastic pollution, demand for plastics continues to rise. As the world transitions away from fossil fuels, plastics are set to be the biggest driver of oil demand. Single-use plastics - deemed essential in the fight against Covid-19 - have been given a new lease of life. In a world beset with crisis fatigue, what can we do to curb the escalating plastics crisis?
In this incisive new book, sociologist Alice Mah reveals how petrochemical and plastics corporations have fought relentlessly to protect and expand plastic markets in the face of existential threats to business. From denying the toxic health effects of plastics to co-opting circular economy solutions to plastic waste and exploiting the opportunities offered up by the global pandemic, industry has deflected attention from the key problem: plastics production.
The consequences of unfettered plastics growth are pernicious and highly unequal. We all have a part to play in reducing plastic consumption but we must tackle the problem at its root - the capitalist imperative for limitless growth.
Presenter: Alice Mah, University of Warwick
Discussant: Beth Gardiner, freelance journalist
Alice is Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick. Her book Plastic Unlimited: How Corporations Are Fuelling the Ecological Crisis and What We Can Do About It will be published by Polity in May 2022.
Beth is a journalist whose work has appeared in various publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian and The Washington Post. She is the author of Choked: The Age of Air Pollution and the Fight for a Cleaner Future (Granta Books, 2019).
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