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Posts Tagged ‘materialism’

plastic polymer granules

This week sees the launch of an online, interdisciplinary conference that I’ve been involved in organizing as part of the Massey University Political Ecology Research Centre. It’s called The Lives and Afterlives of Plastic, and it focuses on the broad range of issues that pertain to plastics, waste, toxicity and pollution.

We’re pleased to say that we’ve got presenters from fields ranging from marine biology and toxicology through to media studies, fine art and anthropology, so there’s a real mix of fields and areas, and will be fascinating to see how that mix of voices works together in the discussions.

The first week of the conference has a keynote from Richard Thompson, who’s one of the world’s top experts on marine plastics, which is titled Marine Debris: Are There Solutions to this Growing Problem?, along with panels the look at the amazing an inspirational Civic Laboratory of Environmental Action Research, a feminist science lab in Newfoundland, Canada, Marine Plastics, and Representation and Aesthetics.

I’m really looking forwards to seeing these presentations, and taking part in the online discussions around them. Being in New Zealand can be quite geographically isolating (especially compared to the UK, where so many researchers and institutions are so close), and online conferences might be a really useful way of allowing us to stay connected to our overseas colleagues without having the ecological (or for that matter economic) cost associated with getting on a plane and flying halfway across the world. Indeed, when the University of California Santa Barbara Environmental Humanities centre ran a similar online conference last year, they estimated that this only involved around 1% of the carbon footprint associated with a traditional conference.

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