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Embracing an interdisciplinary approach to plastics pollution awareness and action

Authors
  • Belontz, Sara L.
  • Corcoran, Patricia L.
  • Davis, Heather
  • Hill, Kathleen A.
  • Jazvac, Kelly
  • Robertson, Kirsty
  • Wood, Kelly
Type
Published Article
Journal
Ambio
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
Nov 17, 2018
Volume
48
Issue
8
Pages
855–866
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s13280-018-1126-8
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

This paper considers how an interdisciplinary approach to the “wicked problem” of plastics pollution offers unique and important collaborative possibilities. Specially, the paper considers the approach of the Synthetic Collective, a group comprising artists, humanities scholars, and scientists. Considering first how artists and scientists might respond differently to tracking, mapping, understanding, and representing plastics pollution, we then look for potential points of commonality across disciplinary difference. In respect to the urgent and multifaceted problem of marine plastics pollution in the Great Lakes region, we ask what are some of the successes and pitfalls of bringing together diverse approaches and interests? The paper concludes with a clear strategy: a set of instructions geared towards building successful interdisciplinary collaborations. Ultimately, we conclude that a strong relationship amongst scientists and artists is possible, fruitful, and indeed warranted when shared goals are the driving principle of the group.

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