How do we confront the swirling gyres of plastic pollution dumped into our oceans and the waste colonization inherent in dumping our refuse out in the oceans? EcoJustice Radio on KPFK-Los Angeles examines the social and environmental implications of wasted resources, and follow two interrelated approaches to solving the problem from an Indigenous Maori woman doing exemplary work in New Zealand and an LA-based plastics pollution fighter who built a raft made of plastic junk and crossed the Pacific.
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The Social and Environmental Implications of Waste Colonization
On August 1, 2018 we hit what is called Earth’s Overshoot Day. This is the annual calculation that marks the date when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. August 1st is the earliest it has ever been.
The Earth provides resources that we as humans utilize. Everything that is provided to us by Earth has value, nothing is waste. We are stuck in a perpetual motion of consuming and throwing away, consuming the value of goods (as well as humans) and throwing them away. When we talk about waste, we think of that which we dispose and recycle, but waste happens along the whole supply chain. For every ton of waste disposed downstream (into our trash cans), there are 70 tons of waste created upstream, which also have negative environmental and social implications.
Waste is a verb, not a noun. We can no longer waste the livelihood of our Earth nor our sisters and brothers in order to consume more, be it oil at the pump or the coffee cup in our hand.
Our guests in this installment of EcoJustice Radio are working to change the narrative around waste, bring awareness to and fight against waste colonization, and create zero waste solutions.
Tina Ngata, The Non-Plastic Maori
A Ngati Porou wahine and mother of 2, Tina’s work involves advocacy for environmental, Indigenous and human rights. This includes local, national and international initiatives that highlight the role of settler colonialism in issues such as climate change and waste pollution, and promote Indigenous conservation as best practice for a globally sustainable future. https://thenonplasticmaori.wordpress.com/
Marcus Eriksen, 5 Gyres and Junk Raft Author
Marcus is the co-founder and research director for the 5 Gyres Institute and author of the Junk Raft: Rise of Activism to Fight Plastic Pollution. 5 Gyres is a nonprofit that empowers action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution through science, art, education, and adventure. http://www.5gyres.org and https://www.marcuseriksen.com/
Jessica Aldridge, co-host of EcoJustice Radio, is a long-time environmental steward, non-profit and community organizer, and waste industry leader. As Director of Sustainability and Zero Waste Programs for Athens Services, a waste hauler in Los Angeles County, Jessica works closely with businesses, schools and municipalities to provide closed-loop solutions, paying special attention to program design, employee training, and customer education. As founder of Adventures in Waste, she also consults with major corporate brands on their waste reduction efforts.
EcoJustice Radio is a weekly broadcast produced by SoCal350.org and aired on independent radio, KPFK 90.7 FM. in Los Angeles. Our particular interest covers environmental and climate stories from a social justice frame, featuring voices not necessarily heard on traditional, mainstream, or even public media outlets. The shows are archived on the SoCal 350 website at bit.ly/EcoJusticeRadio.
Interview by Jessica Aldridge
Engineered by JP Morris
Produced by Mark Morris
Show Created by Mark and JP Morris
Music: Javier Kadry
This originally aired August 22, 2018 on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles.
Updated 20 February 2021