I’ve been on mountaineering expeditions in the past which involve a long period of preparation and focus on the objective, and then an intense period of solitude and immersion in the experience for many weeks. After these experiences I invariably struggle with settling back into the ho-hum of every day life and feel like my compass has gone a bit haywire. This is actually a well known phenomenon post-expedition, and the ‘what next?’ question looms large.
The global plastics crisis is a prime example of a complex ‘wicked problem’ which urgently requires us to think and act in new ways at all levels (from individual, household, community levels, to the corporate level as well as nationally and globally to legislate and ensure accountability mechanisms are in place). This is essential in order to bridge the knowledge to action gap, through innovations, multisectoral partnerships and scaling effective approaches.
I see eXXpedition as a unique opportunity to share my passion for Foldscope, an award winning origami-based microscope that is ultra affordable, portable, durable, and gives the same optical quality as a conventional microscope. I am fortunate to have collaborated with the Prakash Lab at Stanford University since 2014 and incorporated Foldscope in all my research projects since.
I’m joining eXXpedition as part of my holidays, but there is a clear purpose behind participating. I want to be a part of the 'solution' (whether or not there is a 'solution' or many mitigation strategies will be a subject of an upcoming post here) both in my professional and personal life.
I'm making the final preparations for eXXpedition and doing my level best to keep it both green and clean! I'm finding out quickly though that the quest to cultivate more sustainable habits isn't as straightforward as one would hope; swapping out one type of product such as plastic bags in favor of cotton can actually end up causing other negative environmental impacts, as highlighted in a report by the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark.
In this blog you can follow my journey, one of the 30 voyages of eXXpedition Round the World, which consists of women who bring expertise as scientists, artists, filmmakers, sustainability professionals, policy makers and more in a transdisciplinary effort to tackle the issue of plastics.