Plastic Unlimited: How Corporations Are Fuelling t he Ecological Crisis and What We Can Do About It
Despite the global movement to tackle plastic pollution, demand for plastics continues to rise. As the world transitions away from fossil fuels, plastics are set to be the biggest driver of oil demand. Single-use plastics – deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19 – have been given a new lease of life. In a world beset with crisis fatigue, what can we do to curb the escalating plastics crisis?
In this book, Alice Mah reveals how petrochemical and plastics corporations have fought relentlessly to protect and expand plastics markets in the face of existential threats to business. From denying the toxic health effects of plastics to co-opting circular economy solutions to plastic waste and exploiting the opportunities offered up by the global pandemic, industry has deflected attention from the key problem: plastics production.
The consequences of unfettered plastics growth are pernicious and highly unequal. We all have a part to play in reducing plastics consumption but we must tackle the problem at its root: the capitalist imperative for limitless growth.
'Hard-hitting and insightful, Plastic Unlimited upends the familiar "personal responsibility" narrative, instead tracing the roots of our global plastics crisis to the voracious multinational corporations producing an endless stream of the stuff.' Beth Gardiner, author of Choked: The Age of Air Pollution and the Fight for a Cleaner Future 'Alice Mah blows the lid off the many myths and deceptive tactics propagated and employed by an industry desperately seeking to extend our continuing addiction to fossil fuels. This book offers illumination and ammunition for citizens striving for a just and better future.' Von Hernandez, Global coordinator of the Break Free From Plastic movement 'Timely, engaging, comprehensive. Mah delivers the book I've been waiting for - a power-and-geopolitics analysis of the multifaceted plastics crisis, past and present.' Rebecca Altman, writer and environmental sociologist 'Plastic Unlimited uncovers the driving forces behind the global problem of plastic waste that is damaging ecosystems, undermining public health, and widening inequalities. Alice Mah's incisive analysis shows that the current plastics predicament is not mainly a problem of weak waste management or poor consumer choices, but instead is driven by powerful corporations that dominate plastics production and use.' Jennifer Clapp, University of Waterloo 'With breathtaking originality, Alice Mah exposes why plastics are poisoning our planet. Governance is failing. And corporations are out of control. Everyone should rush to read this incisive, fiery analysis. These companies must be held accountable.' Peter Dauvergne, University of British Columbia 'Tracing plastics back to their petrochemical source, Plastic Unlimited presents an unflinching investigation into corporate responsibility for the plastics crisis. Mah convincingly argues that plastics consumption and climate change are interlinked, and offers strategies for confronting these fossil-fuelled crises through multi-scalar activism.' Jennifer Gabrys, University of Cambridge and author of Citizens of Worlds: Open-Air Toolkits for Environmental Struggle 'This fantastic book is extremely informative, well written, and a must-read for anyone interested in the deeper roots of the plastics crisis.' Frank Geels, University of Manchester 'Plastic Unlimited is a vitally important book. It provides a cogent, nuanced, and resounding critique of the fossil fuel industry's strategy to turn plastics into a saviour of global health, renewable energy technology, but, most of all, the industry's bottom line. Read this book to understand how the climate emergency and plastics production go hand in hand.' Josh Lepawsky, Memorial University of Newfoundland 'Plastic Unlimited is an exquisitely useful book and a must-read for anyone interested in plastic pollution. Pulling back the curtain on concepts like lifecycle assessments (LCAs), the circular economy, net zero, and chemical recycling, Alice Mah reveals how each one has specific ingredients that align with the continued growth of plastic production. Academia has lagged behind NGO research and investigative journalism on the plastics industry, but Plastic Unlimited decisively ends that trend. It's the book I've been waiting for!' Max Liboiron, Memorial University of Newfoundland and author of Pollution Is Colonialism 'Mah's brilliant analysis reveals how the continuous growth of the petrochemical industry draws upon an imaginary circular economy of plastics that leaves aside "waste colonialism" and environmental injustices.' Joan Martinez-Alier, Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA)
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