Science Festival Keynote: The Future of Plastic

a person covered in plastic to represent a cloud

Glyn Davis Theatre
Glyn Davis Building (Melbourne School of Design)
The University of Melbourne

  • Keynote

Thanks to campaigns like The War on Waste, plastic has become public enemy number one.

Plastic waste is indeed a global environmental – and potentially health – problem, requiring us to change long-held wasteful habits, alongside significant political will and innovative solutions. But what of the other side to plastic – its astonishing variety of form and uses, from electronics to transport to buildings to emerging renewable energy solutions?

Do we need to give plastic the flick for good or do we just need to be smarter about the kinds of plastics we produce, and how, where, and what we use them for?

Join us for an expert panel discussion and Q&A followed by a reception, where you can mix with the speakers and visit the Science Gallery exhibition 'Disposable'.

Presented by the Faculty of Science, University of Melbourne, in association with Science Gallery Melbourne.

Our speakers include:

Moderator: Tanya Ha

Tanya Ha is an award winning environmentalist, author, broadcast journalist and sustainability advocate. Tanya will be moderating the 2019 Science Festival Keynote, The Future of PlasticTanya Ha is an award-winning environmentalist, best-selling author, broadcaster, science journalist and sustainable living advocate.

More hip than hippie, she makes sustainability and science easier to understand and is best known for her TV shows and popular environmental books.

Tanya is currently Director of Engagement at Science in Public, a member of the leadership team of Science & Technology Australia, a Director of Diversity Council Australia, and an Associate of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute.

Emily Potter

Emily is a cultural and literary studies researcher of environmental practices. Emily Potter is a cultural and literary studies researcher of environmental practices.

Her books include Plastic Water: The social and material life of bottled water (with Gay Hawkins and Kane Race, MIT Press: 2015), and Ethical Consumption: A critical introduction (with Tania Lewis, Routledge: 2013).

She is Associate Head of School (Research) and Senior Lecturer in the School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University.

Dr Mark Green

Mark GreenDr Mark Green is the Merck Serono Senior Lecturer in Reproductive Biology and group leader in the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne.

His research centres on improving the outcomes of human and animal assisted reproductive technologies by investigating how endocrine disruptors (e.g. Bisphenol A and pesticides) and emerging contaminants affect fertility, as well as subsequent offspring health.

Professor Uta Wille

Uta WilleUta Wille is a physical organic chemist whose work focuses on fundamental radical chemistry. Her group conducts fundamental research to support new ways of synthesising polymers and understanding free radical damage in biological and manufactured materials. One of her research interests is how polymers such as plastics undergo degradation in the environment.

She is a professor in the Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute and the School of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne.

Jimmy Cordwell

Jimmy CordwellJimmy studied Environmental Conservation and has since worked in marine advocacy and education roles all around the country. Jimmy believes everyone deserves clean healthy oceans that are full of life. He has focused on plastics in the ocean since 2013, and hasn't visited a beach since that isn't impacted by plastic pollution.

He leads the Australian Marine Conservation Society's Ocean Plastic Pollution campaign, empowering Australian communities to turn the tide on plastic pollution and save our precious oceans, by focusing on stopping harmful single-use plastics at their source.