Episode 17: Should Plastic Pollution Be Part of the Climate Discussion?

In this episode of Eaarth Feels, Rose and Christine explore whether plastic pollution is a climate issue or merely a distraction from doing the bigger work necessary to avert climate crisis. Today’s discussion includes the relationship of plastics and fossil fuel extraction, plastic pollution vs recycling, the Great Garbage Patch, new plastic factories being built, and some alarming statistics on plastics.

Recurring segments include:

  • Good news stories
  • An unfreeze yourself action tip to create change
  • A weekly sanity tip to keep you calm(er) in the face of climate overwhelm


Organization: The Ocean Cleanup

Plastic Statistics: Here’s what we are up against.

  • Since the 1950’s 8.3 billion tons of plastic has been produced globally.
  • 73% of global beach litter is plastic
  • Worldwide 1 million plastic bottles are bought each and every minute.
  • Approximately 2 million plastic bags are bought every minute
  • The average time a plastic bag is used is 12 minutes
  • Plastic is killing more than 1.1 m seabirds and animals a year.
  • The average person eats 70,000 microplastics per year.
  • Plastic production has increased from 15 million tons in the 1960’s to 311 million ton in 2014 and is expected to triple by 2050.
  • If projections hold true, in 2050 plastic industry is expected to account for 20% of global annual oil consumption.

Report: The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plasticsissued by the World Economic Forum

Articles on Pacific Garbage Patch

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch cleanup is underway, finally

Video: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Products: Some Alternatives to Plastic Wrap


Fossil fuel industry sees the future in hard-to-recycle plastic,  Deidre McKay, Keele University

Good news:

Unfreeze Yourself Action Tip:

  • Become aware of how when and where you use plastic today.
  • Eliminate one piece of plastic from your life.

Sanity Tip:

Put a moratorium on complaining today.  When you catch yourself about to launch into complaining, pause, breathe and look for the lesson instead.

As suggested from You Are A Badass Everyday, by Jen Sincero