State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

You Asked: Does Caring About Plastic Distract From Climate Change?

You Asked” is a series where Earth Institute experts tackle reader questions on science and sustainability. In honor of Climate Week NYC and the Covering Climate Now initiative, we’ll spend the next few weeks focusing on your questions about climate change. 

The following question was submitted through our Instagram page by one of our followers. The answer comes from by Agustina Besada, a graduate of Columbia University’s Sustainability Management master’s program.

Agustina Besada
Agustina Besada (SUMA 2015) is the founder of Unplastify, an organization that promotes awareness and solutions to rethink the human relationship with plastic.

Does anti-plastic activism take up political oxygen that could be better used?

Human abuse of nature manifests in many different ways, and we need to have an integrated approach in order to tackle this systemic problem. Climate is not indifferent to plastic pollution, as many studies suggest. Plastic pollution should not compete with climate conversations; on the contrary, it should add to the discussion to find integrated solutions.

Got a question about climate change? Feeling curious about conservation? To submit a question, drop a comment below, message us on Instagram, or email us here.

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4 years ago

Don’t forget, plastic is made from petroleum. While this is not a direct burning of petroleum, this relationship creates a quite direct link between some of the climate issues surrounding petroleum and those surrounding the sourcing of raw material and production of plastic, and possibly also its recycling or burning.