Flash Forward: There's No Great Future in Plastics

This episode is all about a world without plastic.

What would that look like? Is it even possible?

Today, plastic is seen as one of our great environmental enemies.

But it actually wasn’t always that way. Bradford Harris, a historian of science and the host of a podcast called How It Began: A History of the Modern World, and Susan Freinkel, a journalist and the author of Plastic: A Toxic Love Story, walk us through how plastic started out as a solution to unsustainable practices. Then we talk to Sherry Lippiatt, California Regional Coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program, about what exactly is going on with garbage in the ocean. And finally I visit Danielle Trofe at her studio in Brooklyn, where she grows sustainable materials using mushrooms.

Further reading:

Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose Eveleth. The intro music is by Asura and the outtro music is by Hussalonia. The voices from the future this episode were provided by Lisa Pollak, Arielle Duhaime-Ross, Brent Rose, Victor Dorff and Mary Beth Griggs. The episode art is by Matt Lubchansky.

This episode was sponsored in part by:

  • The Demon Crown, the latest novel by James Rollins.
  • BetterHelp, convenient, affordable, private online counseling. Enter the invite code FLASH to get your first 7 days free

If you want to suggest a future we should take on, send us a note on TwitterFacebook or by email at info@flashforwardpod.com. We love hearing your ideas! And if you think you’ve spotted one of the little references I’ve hidden in the episode, email us there too. If you’re right, I’ll send you something cool.

And if you want to support the show, there are a few ways you can do that too! Head to www.flashforwardpod.com/support for more about how to give. But if that’s not in the cards for you, you can head to iTunes and leave us a nice review or just tell your friends about us. Those things really do help.

That’s all for this future, come back next time and we’ll travel to a new one.

 

 

Flash Forward is a critically acclaimed podcast about the future.

In each episode, host Rose Eveleth takes on a possible (or not so possible) future scenario — everything from the existence of artificial wombs, to what would happen if space pirates dragged a second moon to Earth. What would the warranty on a sex robot look like? How would diplomacy work if we couldn’t lie? Could there ever be a black market for fecal transplants? (Complicated, it wouldn’t, and yes, respectively, in case you’re curious.) By combining audio drama and deep reporting, Flash Forward gives listeners an original and unique window into the future, how likely different scenarios might be, and how to prepare for what might come.


Chemistry, Conservation & Sustainability, Oceanography, Pollution
High School

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