What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• Maggie Koerth-Baker at FiveThirtyEight addresses how when conducting scientific research to better our planet, the research part itself may not necessarily be sustainable or environmentally friendly.
• What are the best ways science can address its sustainability problem? How can donors help support the push for more green science methods?
Mauricio Urbina was trying to save the planet on the day he realized he was simultaneously destroying it. A biologist who studies the bodies of fish and other sea creatures, Urbina was working on a project to understand what happens to crabs that eat tiny particles of plastic waste thrown out by careless humans. But after one particularly long day in the lab, he looked down and noticed — he was a careless human. A lot of his tools were plastic and would be thrown out after a single use, contributing to the stream of waste packing landfills and polluting waterways. He was working on the solution, but he was part of the problem.
The process of doing scientific research — even the kind of research dedicated to environmental sustainability — isn’t always environmentally sustainable itself. But even as scientists try to make their profession more green, they’re finding themselves struggling with a problem that’s familiar far beyond the halls of academia: How do you live sustainably when the things you need to live are often, by their very nature, unsustainable?
Across the nation and around the world, scientific laboratories create an amazing amount of plastic waste, consume large amounts of water, create risks from hazardous chemicals and use significantly more energy than other buildings of the same size, said Star Scott, Green Lab Program coordinator for the University of Georgia.
Read the full article about sustainability and science by Maggie Koerth-Baker at FiveThirtyEight.