The Wicked Problem with Microplastics and What We Can Do About It

  • March 28, 2022
  • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Zoom virtual lecture

        Dr. Myra Hird

Myra J. Hird, earned her doctoral degree at the University of Oxford. She is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and a Full Professor in the School of Environmental Studies at Queen’s University.

Dr. Hird represented Canada at the G7 Microplastics Paris meeting (2019) and  earned the Queen’s Excellence in Research Prize (2015). She has earned over $11 million in external research funding and has published 10 books and over 70 articles and book chapters on a diversity of topics relating to science studies. 

Her 2021 book, Canada’s Waste Flows, critically explores Canada’s waste crisis and particularly the role of ongoing settler colonialism in creating and maintaining this crisis. Her forthcoming book, A Public Sociology of Waste explores waste as a crisis in global democracy. Dr. Hird is the Director of Waste Flow and is regularly featured on the media outlets such as the CBC’s The National, the BBC, Canadian Geographic and CTV news. 

The Wicked Problem with Microplastics and What We Can Do About It

Wicked problems are difficult to solve because their multi-dimensional complexity means that solutions are often contradictory; solving one aspect of a wicked problem may well open up a different problem or problems.  Plastics waste, as this presentation will show, is a wicked problem that presses us to confront the environmental, political, economic, symbolic and cultural dimensions of contemporary global society. Even if we drastically reduce our consumption (itself a contradiction in capitalist growth economies), we are left with a profound (in its scale and toxicity) waste legacy that will endure for an unknown number of future generations. 

This presentation will address the health and environmental problems that (micro)plastics create, and how we might resolve the wicked problems they create.

This event is part of the Spring  2022 Speaker series. Register for the Spring 2022 Event Series.

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