Has David Attenborough changed your attitude to plastic? Watch

University of Plymouth
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 6 months ago
#1
In David Attenborough's 'Blue Planet II', the world was shocked by his exposé on how our plastic consumption is causing catastrophic damage to our oceans, marine wildlife, and the environment. Companies started banning plastic straws and changes are continuously being made.

What we want to know - has your opinion changed? University of Plymouth lecturer and researcher Richard Thomspon (OBE) coined use of the term ‘microplastics’ and has been involved in many key discoveries of how microplastics affect the ocean. I’ve found that massively inspiring and try my best to reduce plastic consumption.

Who has inspired you, if anyone has? How have you made a change? Was it before or post Blue Planet II?

Seren, University of Plymouth Student Rep

:dolphin:
1
reply
ChaoticButterfly
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#2
Report 6 months ago
#2
Not really.

He pushes malthusianism which makes him a total ****ing danger, especially with great climate change looking likely in the coming century.
0
reply
University of Plymouth
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#3
Report Thread starter 6 months ago
#3
(Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
Not really.

He pushes malthusianism which makes him a total ****ing danger, especially with great climate change looking likely in the coming century.
Interesting! I think that's the first bad opinion I've heard of Attenborough, which is really intriguing. Have you found any other motivations for plastic reduction? I know that Attenborough's documentary was a big push for many people, but I know I was raising my eyebrows at how excessive plastic packaging can be far before Frozen Planet. For example, living in shared student accommodation really built up our recycling bin at ridiculous rates and it always made me unhappy!

- Seren, University of Plymouth Student Rep
0
reply
CoolCavy
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#4
Report 6 months ago
#4
No, as a product design student i am actutely aware of the impact plastic has environmentally, i am also aware of the benefits it has as a material and how it's needed. Plastic doesnt need to be demonised, how its disposed of at it's grave is the thing that needs improving and that is down to the consumer mostly
1
reply
Violet Femme
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#5
Report 6 months ago
#5
No, as I was already aware of the issues.

But I am glad that he is generating publicity to the damage plastic waste does.
1
reply
Qup
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#6
Report 6 months ago
#6
(Original post by CoolCavy)
No, as a product design student i am actutely aware of the impact plastic has environmentally, i am also aware of the benefits it has as a material and how it's needed. Plastic doesnt need to be demonised, how its disposed of at it's grave is the thing that needs improving and that is down to the consumer mostly
Hows your course?
0
reply
CoolCavy
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#7
Report 6 months ago
#7
(Original post by Qup)
Hows your course?
Fine?
0
reply
Qup
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#8
Report 6 months ago
#8
(Original post by CoolCavy)
Fine?
I'm asking because I want to enrol onto a product design course.

Though I assume PM would have been a wiser decision. Oh well.
0
reply
Retired_Messiah
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#9
Report 6 months ago
#9
just give indonesia some sodding bins ;-;
0
reply
adam277
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#10
Report 6 months ago
#10
(Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
Not really.

He pushes malthusianism which makes him a total ****ing danger, especially with great climate change looking likely in the coming century.
What has that to do with plastic?
Anyway, can you expand on why he is a danger though? As I'd like to understand why malthusianism + great climate change is so dangerous.

Not trying be critical by the way I know very little about the topic. Just curious on your view.
1
reply
TheTroll73
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#11
Report 6 months ago
#11
no

already knew plastics were bad
3
reply
Killerpenguin15
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#12
Report 6 months ago
#12
David Attenborough has got a lot of people considering the use of single-use plastics - e.g. Straws and bottles (to an extent). As someone else mentioned earlier in this thread, plastics still do have a lot of use in society today. The goal shouldn't be to eliminate plastic consumption completely, but rather to re-consider our recycling methods.
1
reply
ChaoticButterfly
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#13
Report 6 months ago
#13
(Original post by adam277)
What has that to do with plastic?
Anyway, can you expand on why he is a danger though? As I'd like to understand why malthusianism + great climate change is so dangerous.

Not trying be critical by the way I know very little about the topic. Just curious on your view.
It implies the solution to food shortage and other such problems is to reduce human population size. Of course the population size that needs to be reduced is in the global southn where most of the famines are. You see where this is going?
0
reply
Fullofsurprises
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#14
Report 6 months ago
#14
Attenborough has shown the power he has globally to impact people's thinking - the levels of plastics in the oceans (not to mention soils, animals, plants and us) have been known and discussed for some considerable time, but it was his work that led to a step change in the approach and now governments everywhere are being forced by public opinion to do something more than just empty words.

I don't agree with an earlier poster that calling for population reduction is a bad thing. The world is clearly overpopulated by humans now and as well as reducing our destruction of the biosphere we must face up to reality that so large a population cannot have a good living standard at current levels of resource depletion. Brian Cox's Horizon on energy showed this more clearly than any other programme - we would need more than 30 Terawatts of electricity to provide it. Using renewables, this would mean huge, Marshall Plan-style expenditures and without it, there will be so much CO2 growth that the temperature rises will destroy us. In particular, we need fewer Americans and fewer westerners. Our current lifestyles are not sustainable. Government plans to triple air travel will, on their own, destroy our future as a planet. These are things that are still not being discussed rationally or acted upon.

Attenborough could do even more, drawing proper attention to climate change and species depletion. He has recently said that he doesn't want to depress people, but the truth is that many of his shows now give a wholly false impression of biodiversity. The lush complexity of life shown in them is harder and harder to locate to film by the year. Huge swathes of tropical rain forest are disappearing. The oceans are being plasticised and looted. Here in the UK, numerous species of wildlife are at all-time lows and some species (like hedgehogs for example) that were ubiquitous only a few decades ago are now almost extinct. Industrialised farming, chemical use, destruction of habitats - we could go on, but the UK is not doing nearly enough to face the real challenges.
0
reply
ChaoticButterfly
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#15
Report 6 months ago
#15
(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
Attenborough has shown the power he has globally to impact people's thinking - the levels of plastics in the oceans (not to mention soils, animals, plants and us) have been known and discussed for some considerable time, but it was his work that led to a step change in the approach and now governments everywhere are being forced by public opinion to do something more than just empty words.

I don't agree with an earlier poster that calling for population reduction is a bad thing. The world is clearly overpopulated by humans now and as well as reducing our destruction of the biosphere we must face up to reality that so large a population cannot have a good living standard at current levels of resource depletion. Brian Cox's Horizon on energy showed this more clearly than any other programme - we would need more than 30 Terawatts of electricity to provide it. Using renewables, this would mean huge, Marshall Plan-style expenditures and without it, there will be so much CO2 growth that the temperature rises will destroy us. In particular, we need fewer Americans and fewer westerners. Our current lifestyles are not sustainable. Government plans to triple air travel will, on their own, destroy our future as a planet. These are things that are still not being discussed rationally or acted upon.

Attenborough could do even more, drawing proper attention to climate change and species depletion. He has recently said that he doesn't want to depress people, but the truth is that many of his shows now give a wholly false impression of biodiversity. The lush complexity of life shown in them is harder and harder to locate to film by the year. Huge swathes of tropical rain forest are disappearing. The oceans are being plasticised and looted. Here in the UK, numerous species of wildlife are at all-time lows and some species (like hedgehogs for example) that were ubiquitous only a few decades ago are now almost extinct. Industrialised farming, chemical use, destruction of habitats - we could go on, but the UK is not doing nearly enough to face the real challenges.
The earlier poster has a name. Fight me you coward! :boxing:

We don;t need fewer westerners. They is less of us anyway. Which is the problem with the population size argument. It ignores other, arguably more important factors. Like energy consumption. This is basically a class issue where the even the lower classes of the west enjoy enjoy the status of a "labour aristocracy" as lenin put it. The higher classes of earth are smaller in number but consume much much more of everything, often relying on the high in number labour of the global south. Just focusing on population size makes it look like the global poor are the problem and not the global rich. It is reactionary dangerouse garbage and totally fits into an analysis that demands Nazi like solutions.

It is always conveniant that those who must reduce thier population size are the blacks and not the whites with thier low low populations but masive energy and resource consumption.


The human population exploded a long long long time ago. Well before recorded history. We have been destroying biodiversity for eons. We are already to far gone and there is no going back to noble savage style of existance. And even then our noble savage ancestors wiped out all the megafauna they encounted. The only hope we have (that doesn't involve killing that makes the holocaust look like childs play) is to find ways of making our mega consumption of energy and resources and viable in the long term. We cannot go back to being even subsistance famers, never mind hunter gathers with the amound of poeple who exist now.

I'm not even convinced the eradication of life on earth is holey a bad thing to be honest. We may find biodiversity asthetically pleasing when we watch out natural blood sports on TV. Nothing more beutiful than watching an antelope get eaten alive by a pack of lions. Large scale biology is cruel. Which is the only place you can even begin to say that existance might be a good thing. Biodiversity and complex ecologies are so dependent on r-selection creatures. K-selection is much better for the individual animals, but it is much rarer. Once you get into that sphere of life it gets even worse. Don't even get me started on the lot of insects. Biodiversity? Good ridance I say.

Honestly if we killed most of none human wild-life on earth but found a way of still propogating our species. Eg we live on mars on green energy, grow our food in test tubes and labs. That would probably be morally preferable to be honest. Myabe we could take the oragutans and dolphins with us. Or we just go extinct like the vast majority of life that has ever existed on this planet.

We should absolutly go down fighting, but we may just have to accept that we are an extinction event.
Last edited by ChaoticButterfly; 6 months ago
0
reply
Kian Stevens
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#16
Report 6 months ago
#16
In all honesty, all Attenborough has done is highlight a problem with the human race - we don't recycle enough, as we litter instead.
It's as though some people have absolutely no idea of what a recycling bin is, or even a bin in general.
The problem isn't plastic, even the single-use ones. The problem lies with the people who use them.
All I really ever see on the roadsides etc. are plastic bottles, bags and wrappers, which people have obviously littered. This litter then finds its way into the ocean, or around a bird's head or something. So, it all gets there from people littering, not because it's an inherent problem with plastic.

As mentioned, plastic is a very useful material - it's cheap to make, it's versatile and it's durable.
Plastic was intended to be recycled, not to be littered, yet people act surprised when it's filling the oceans up. It's not biodegradable so don't treat it like it is!
Let's just be hypothetical for a moment - imagine every single piece of plastic in the world's oceans (bottles, straws, bags, etc.) was replaced by another material, such as aluminium, glass or paper. There would still be a problem. There would still be a large excess of unwanted material littering the oceans. It wouldn't change anything whilst mankind litters.

So yes, using less single-use plastics is great. Using your own personal bottle instead of buying multiple bottles of water from the shop is fine. But the message that comes with these actions - you're 'saving the environment' by 'using less plastic' - is a feel-good pseudo-message to make people feel like their actions are doing big things.
All you're doing is reducing the average amount of plastic which could potentially end up in the ocean. Using less plastic overall won't spontaneously save the environment, because if nobody littered plastic, there wouldn't be this situation in the first place.

Seriously, a useful material such as plastic is being pushed into the limelight as a consequence of our own actions. This whole mess has been caused by us and the lack of decency by not doing something as simple as recycling, not because plastic is a thing, and it would be sad to see the material die out because of this.
Last edited by Kian Stevens; 6 months ago
0
reply
Kangaroo17
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#17
Report 6 months ago
#17
(Original post by Kian Stevens)
In all honesty, all Attenborough has done is highlight a problem with the human race - we don't recycle enough, as we litter instead.
It's as though some people have absolutely no idea of what a recycling bin is, or even a bin in general.
The problem isn't plastic, even the single-use ones. The problem lies with the people who use them.
All I really ever see on the roadsides etc. are plastic bottles, bags and wrappers, which people have obviously littered. This litter then finds its way into the ocean, or around a bird's head or something. So, it all gets there from people littering, not because it's an inherent problem with plastic.

As mentioned, plastic is a very useful material - it's cheap to make, it's versatile and it's durable.
Plastic was intended to be recycled, not to be littered, yet people act surprised when it's filling the oceans up. It's not biodegradable so don't treat it like it is!
Let's just be hypothetical for a moment - imagine every single piece of plastic in the world's oceans (bottles, straws, bags, etc.) was replaced by another material, such as aluminium, glass or paper. There would still be a problem. There would still be a large excess of unwanted material littering the oceans. It wouldn't change anything whilst mankind litters.

So yes, using less single-use plastics is great. Using your own personal bottle instead of buying multiple bottles of water from the shop is fine. But the message that comes with these actions - you're 'saving the environment' by 'using less plastic' - is a feel-good pseudo-message to make people feel like their actions are doing big things.
All you're doing is reducing the average amount of plastic which could potentially end up in the ocean. Using less plastic overall won't spontaneously save the environment, because if nobody littered plastic, there wouldn't be this situation in the first place.

Seriously, a useful material such as plastic is being pushed into the limelight as a consequence of our own actions. This whole mess has been caused by us and the lack of decency by not doing something as simple as recycling, not because plastic is a thing, and it would be sad to see the material die out because of this.
I agree, but isnt it in a way "normal"? As in the people who litter should have been disciplined of course, but recycling may be a bit too much if there is a lot to learn about it - to many recycling bins wont be good, becuase its not 'easy' for people. There are always going to be people who litter, so i think psychology (such as putting a price on plastic, like the plastic bag law and giving back bottles) are good incentives.

But also research should be done so that biodegrading properties should be shorter, becuase working with nature is important. Its like holding hands in a circle: we as humans have to be part of the chain for it to be sustainable.
0
reply
Kian Stevens
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#18
Report 6 months ago
#18
(Original post by Kangaroo17)
I agree, but isnt it in a way "normal"? As in the people who litter should have been disciplined of course, but recycling may be a bit too much if there is a lot to learn about it - to many recycling bins wont be good, becuase its not 'easy' for people. There are always going to be people who litter, so i think psychology (such as putting a price on plastic, like the plastic bag law and giving back bottles) are good incentives.

But also research should be done so that biodegrading properties should be shorter, becuase working with nature is important. Its like holding hands in a circle: we as humans have to be part of the chain for it to be sustainable.
I can't really see the difficulty in properly recycling, to be frank. It's simply just a case of putting specific types of material into designated bins, and if we can't do that right, then I do worry for us as a race.
The council in my city has dispatched new bins to all houses, in which people can more effectively recycle things: household waste in the black bin, cardboard in the blue bin, and bottles and cans in the new brown bin... It's not really hard to get it right. In fact, it's pure laziness which prevents people from recycling properly.

In my opinion, putting prices on things doesn't do anything. Look at the sugar tax - I wonder how many people have been deterred from buying drinks containing sugar because they'll have to pay extra, even though this surcharge is pretty insignificant?
What about the plastic bag law? 5p on plastic bags is pretty pathetic in my opinion, because let's face it, 5p is nothing to most people.
Pricing items due to other people's problems is unfair as well. I drink sugary drinks in moderation, and I'm all for recycling properly. Yet again, I have to pay taxes on things because some people decide to kill themselves on Coke, and kill other animals with plastic bags.

In my opinion, disciplining people because of them littering is a lengthy topic to talk about.
I would personally give huge fines out to anyone who litters, but of course, a prerequisite of this is being able to catch every single offender which is obviously difficult to do.
0
reply
begbie68
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#19
Report 6 months ago
#19
Answering the main question, Attenborough did not change my attitude to plastic. I've been ambivalent towards plastic since an early age (I'm almost 50).
What did bring the subject to mind was this film :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du5d5PUrH0I

There are two issues, as I see it.
1. The over-abundance of plastic used in manufacturing & packaging.
2. The disposal/recycling processes of ALL 'rubbish', but especially materials which are not easily biodegradable.

The solution to the first issue is not easily apparent, since many so-called sustainable and/or carbon-efficient alternatives do not adequately deliver on their promise.

For the second, it appears that incinerators converting trash to energy have as many detractors as supporters, yet such incinerators remain intrinsic to Denmark's (and Sweden's) future plans in their drive to "zero-carbon by 2025".

http://uk.businessinsider.com/copenh...the-building-3

I have some experience with this type of incinerator technology, and am convinced there must be some linked-up thinking to develop higher efficiency & lower emissions so that incinerators become more of a norm, and an integral part of waste disposal AND energy generation.

Overall, I agree with other points: that the real solution lies with every consumer, whether the consumer is an individual, or corporate body.
1
reply
University of Plymouth
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#20
Report Thread starter 6 months ago
#20
i
(Original post by CoolCavy)
No, as a product design student i am actutely aware of the impact plastic has environmentally, i am also aware of the benefits it has as a material and how it's needed. Plastic doesnt need to be demonised, how its disposed of at it's grave is the thing that needs improving and that is down to the consumer mostly
(Original post by Violet Femme)
No, as I was already aware of the issues.

But I am glad that he is generating publicity to the damage plastic waste does.
I think it's so easy as a consumer to be lazy about plastic disposal - for example, a lot of people don't wash out yoghurt pots etc before putting them in the recycling bin. A lot of others won't actually do the research to see what can be recycled and where it can be recycled.

Violet Femme - I totally agree with you. A lot of people don't actually realise the impact plastic creates so it was really good for spreading global awareness.

CoolCavy - I'm interested to hear that you say it's mostly down to the consumer. Could you explain this further? I personally think that big brands should be cutting down their plastic usage and advertising appropriate disposal methods of their products, as not everyone is aware of what can be recycled and where it can be recycled. With a global impact, big brands should be responsible for the materials they are using and producing. That's just my two cents!

- Seren, University of Plymouth Student Rep
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

University open days

  • University of Plymouth
    General Open Day Undergraduate
    Wed, 26 Jun '19
  • University of Plymouth
    All departments open Undergraduate
    Wed, 26 Jun '19

How did your AQA A-level Biology Paper 3 go?

Loved the paper - Feeling positive (239)
14.81%
The paper was reasonable (901)
55.82%
Not feeling great about that exam... (354)
21.93%
It was TERRIBLE (120)
7.43%

Watched Threads

View All