Breaking Down: Collapse

Episode 35 - Microplastics

May 18, 2021 Kory & Kellan Episode 35
Breaking Down: Collapse
Episode 35 - Microplastics
Show Notes Transcript

Kory and Kellan discuss the rapid increase in plastic pollution and it's potential affects on biodiversity and human health.

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Episode 35 - Microplastics original

Kory: [00:00:00] So Kellan I was in the grocery store the other day and I overheard a conversation. I was in the produce aisle and there was a lady speaking with one of the employees at the store. And I heard her say something along the lines of, yeah, we're all prepped up now. We just bought a wood-burning fireplace. We've got tons of ammo. My husband bought a bunch of those buckets of food."

 And at first I was like, Oh, interesting. Like somebody that's prepped. That's great. But then she goes, "and man, my husband was so excited because he thought last month that the civil war was going to kick off and he told me, Oh baby, we're going to war, get ready." and then she said how disappointed he was when it didn't and how she was mad cause now they were stuck with all these preps.

And first of all, I was just amazed at how loudly she was willing to like, openly speak about her husband's desire for a civil war and his sadness that it hadn't happened. And secondly, it just struck me how weird it was that they were feeling like there was nothing to do with their preps anymore because that one event that they were planning for didn't take place.

Kellan: [00:01:12] I almost can't believe it. I mean, you tell me about an experience like that and it seems like the kind of thing that you would make up to sensationalize how crazy of a time we live in. Like that is crazy.

 And maybe that's a good way to bring up, I hope everyone who's listening knows that what we're trying to do is create awareness, make sure everybody is informed hopefully to mitigate what we think is going to happen. Right. If people can actually change their behaviors and there can be some level of impact, or at least if it's not going to affect anything on the large scale, that those of you who are listening can do what you need to in your personal lives to be more prepared for when things get difficult.

But I know Kory you and I, as we've talked about all of this, there's so much evidence, right? We have 34 episodes full of stats and facts and evidence that points to essentially the inevitability of collapse. And yet I know that we've said to each other, wouldn't it be so nice if we are wrong? Like hopefully something miraculous happens or hopefully we've got it all wrong and this won't actually take place. So I think there's a big difference in talking about this kind of a thing while hoping against hope that it never happens and somebody like that who wants to see civil war like that is just crazy.

Kory: [00:02:23] Exactly. It goes back to our conversation in, I think it was episodes 11 and 12 around preparation and the difference between being a prepper and trying to be resilient. Being resilient has nothing to do with not only wanting bad things to happen, but especially not wanting bad things to happen to other people and to be partaking in violence. It's about helping your community be prepared for hard times. And if you can't help your community, at least start by helping yourself self and your family.

And like you said, we don't want these things to happen. Kellan's not kidding when he says we have had conversations where we have said, I wish that we could be wrong. I wish that the whole collapse community was wrong and how wonderful it would be if 40 or 50 years from now, things had gotten better and not worse. And there were solutions to all our issues.

And it's rough because just by the nature of talking about this subject and this topic, people automatically, I feel like lump us together with that lady that I overheard in the grocery store. If anyone finds out that I want to prepare for difficult times or that I even just think difficult times are happening or are coming they immediately lump me in with someone who's a doomsday prepper. I'm going to get my bunker and all these things. You know, I recently told my family about the podcast and talking to my mom the other day, she said, "man, I just never thought we'd have a prepper in the family." and it didn't hurt my feelings, again, because I know she doesn't necessarily know the difference, but that's just it for people who aren't knowledgeable on the topic, without actually taking the time to try and understand and listen and figure out what it's all about, we do, we kind of just get lumped into this idea of what people believe when it comes to collapse.

Kellan: [00:03:54] Yeah, I think you're absolutely right. And I'm far enough into this now and am at least aware enough that I self identify as somebody who is collapse aware, but I've now learned for myself what you talked to me about early on, which is just how hard it is to bring up this kind of a topic with anybody and not get that kind of result that you're talking about.

You know, if somebody that I haven't seen for a while finds out about this podcast, they ask me what it's about. I've learned that if I start by saying, yeah, it has to do with the collapse of industrialized society, they immediately discredit everything I'm going to say from that point forward. But if, instead I say something like, yeah, it's a really compelling podcast. I've learned a lot, basically there's aspects of what we're doing as a society that aren't sustainable. And I think we can all see that there's tough times ahead. And I have to kind of downplay it a little bit. Anyways, going back to what you overheard in the grocery store, it makes me think of our conversation with Desh Amila and I remember him saying, you know, for all those who want things to escalate and who want the political tensions and the polarization to just keep increasing and think, yeah, I want a civil war. He's like from somebody who lived through a civil war or you absolutely do not want that. Right. He grew up in Sri Lanka and had to, see the reality of what life looks like and that kind of a situation.

And I think people have this romanticized, glorified, Epic view of conflict, any measure of societal collapse, which I guess I can understand if what you primarily consume is Hollywood movies, but all you have to do is take one look at any history book and I feel like it's clear that the last thing we want to have happen is exactly what we feel so certain is going to happen.

Kory: [00:05:34] Yeah. Well said. You know, especially in the West, I feel like we watch other parts of the world struggle and collapse from the comforts of our homes on our lunch break from work, you know, and as we're scrolling through Twitter and like you said, it becomes a sort of romanticized thing. And especially for people who are collapse aware, who spend a lot of time learning about it and things like that, I think there can be this nature to like, want to see it happen.

And we've said in the past, like we live in interesting times and so we're probably going to witness a lot of this stuff happened, but I do think it's important to have the reality check and not wish for it because they're real people, we're watching real suffering, and one day that suffering will be our own.

Even here in the US you know, looking around, there's just so many things happening. So many signs of collapse everywhere you look. Just today I saw a picture on Twitter of people hoarding gasoline in Virginia because of everything going on over there with the pipeline hack. and it seems like the news and Twitter and all these different places nowadays are just filled with conflict all over the world. Israel and Hamas. the protests in Colombia you know, all of this stuff that are happening right now in this moment, which may be in six months or whatever we will have forgotten about, but it's just always happening. And so anyway, we kind of went off on a tangent here to start today, but we hope our intentions are clear with the podcast. We hope you take this information and use it to better your own life, to better the lives of your families, and hopefully to work towards bettering the lives of your communities as well.

So should we talk about micro-plastics then?

Kellan: [00:06:59] Yeah. I think this will be an interesting topic.

This is one of those where I've researched. What aspect of this issue, you've researched another and at this moment right now, I honestly don't know what level of alarm or danger to assign to this. And I think part of that is because there's so much about this that's still unknown. But regardless of that, I think this will be a good opportunity for us to bring up the issue and to discuss what we do know because I think it does play a part, you know, it is a factor in the path we're on and what we anticipate seeing in the future.

Kory: [00:07:31] Yeah. From my research, I found the same thing that we are really just beginning to do studies to find out what the impacts of microplastics are. I mean, it's really just the last few years that their impacts on humans have even really been noticed. And so while we don't know a lot, I think the little bit that we do know is pretty terrifying. And I think it'll be interesting to see what we learn about in the coming years. Especially as the amount of microplastics in the environment continues to grow.

Kellan: [00:07:59] Yeah, exactly. When you mentioned that it's something that we are just beginning to understand, the term itself, microplastics, is attributed to a professor Richard Thompson who's a Marine biologist. But supposedly the term wasn't even introduced until 2004 and like I said, Richard Thompson is a Marine biologist and so even at that point, which clearly wasn't very long ago, researchers were just looking at the effect on Marine life.

so anyways, microplastics, let's talk about what it is. Microplastics are little tiny fragments of plastic,

and in order for it to be considered a microplastic, it has to be less than five millimeters in length. And that's according to the us national oceanic and atmospheric administration and the European chemicals agency. Anyways, so if it is less than five millimeters in length but bigger than one micron, which apparently is one 1000th of a millimeter, anything in that range is a microplastic. 

And when you think of plastic, you might think of plastic, water bottles, grocery bags, parts and pieces on the devices that you use. And we really don't think about these little tiny bits of plastic because they're so small that in most cases we cannot see them. But there are two types of microplastics. The first is primary microplastics. So if something is already five millimeters or smaller before entering the environment, then it's a primary microplastic. And by the way, these are in cosmetics and clothing, shampoos, they come from industrial processes. Like even if you think of like facial scrubs that are exfoliating and they have these tiny little exfoliating beads, Those are little microplastic scrubbers. There's something that's called an air blasting technology where they blast acrylic or melamine or polyester microplastic scrubbers at machinery or engines or boat hulls or whatever through remove rust and paint. And as they do that, it is spreading tons of these little microplastics. So anyways, yeah, if you think of any little tiny piece of plastic that fits in that size range that we talked about before it ends up out in the environment, that's a primary microplastic. A secondary microplastic is when a larger plastic product or item breaks down. So like stuff wears down, whether that's just plastic, that's sitting out in the sun or you think about tires as we drive, right. All the millions of cars out there, those are wearing down. When we wash our clothing.

Kory: [00:10:21] Yeah, that's weird to think about. Cause normally you think of your clothing as a fabric, as a material, but the fibers that come off those actually have microplastics synthetic fibers.

Kellan: [00:10:30] Yeah. I think we recognize that plastic is so prevalent in our lives. So much of what we use and interact with is made of plastic. But I think we forget, or we were never made aware, that even things that we don't think of as plastic often contain plastic. So there's those primary microplastics, the secondary microplastics. If it's larger than a microplastic, they call it as you can guess, a microplastic. So like a plastic bottle is a macro plastic. But if it's even smaller than a microplastic, right smaller than one, 1000th of a millimeter, then it's called a man plastic. And that's kind of an even more unknown topic. There's some emerging research. They've come up with these methods of trying to determine how much nanoplastic there is. And let me just read some of these terms. They promise that we're going to get answers soon from nano forier transform infrared spectroscopy or atomic force infrared. I have no idea what that means, but there are these advanced methods are coming up with that they claim are going to help us to determine how big of an issue these nano-plastics are. But what's scary about these is that they are so small that they can cross cellular membranes. They can actually affect the functioning of cells.

And the issue here, when you think about it is just that plastics degrade really slowly. It can take hundreds or even thousands of years for plastic to break all the way down. And so these microplastics don't just go away. They, they find their way into everything. In the environment, they're in the ground, they're in the water, they're in the atmosphere, they're in the food. We know they accumulate in our bodies. 

When it comes to the the impact that these microplastics are having, I know Kory we're going to talk about that a little more later. but I think it's important to start with this foundation of what microplastics are. And I think it's important to recognize not all plastics are created equal. Like for me, most of my life, when I think of plastic, I just think plastic is plastic. It's all the same. But a handful of years ago I was involved in a project kind of manufacturing a product. It was an entrepreneurial project outside of work. Um, but I had to work with a manufacturer and I remember them talking about like, okay, this product, what kind of plastic do you need? You know, if we're going to do injection molding, is it, uh, a polypropylene? Do you want abs? There's polyethylene and polystyrene and all these different materials and each plastic, each type of plastic has a different density, different levels of durability and how long they last, you know, flexibility how resistant they are to UV rays, different rates at which they can break down.

So, because of how many different types of plastics there are and all those factors and different ways that they break down it can be hard to measure the scope of the problem. But you think like how prevalent is this? These tiny little bits of plastic? Ya know how much of that is there floating around? And the answer is, nobody really knows. Like you can't take a special image from a satellite and just see how much of the world is covered in microplastics. You can't even stand outside and look down and see how much microplastic is beneath you, right? That they're so small. And so in most cases, all you can really do is take samples in limited areas.

But as an example, just a few years ago, in 2017, there was a group of researchers, you know, Marine biologists. They discovered that the underwater sea grass off the coast of Belize had microplastic fibers and shards and beads stuck to it. And it wasn't just one tiny little fraction that they found these microplastics on. It was three quarters of the sea grass in that area. That's just one example in one little area, but that's kind of how the research has to be done. 

And it's interesting because you think, okay, it's on the sea grass who cares, but the sea grass is part of that whole barrier reef ecosystem, parrotfish feed on it. Humans eat parrot fish. Anytime these microplastics are there at any point in the food chain, it works its way up the food chain.

Kory: [00:14:21] Yeah. You know, I, I saw research that like zooplankton grow more slowly and often inadequately and they even reproduce less successfully when they live in environments with microplastics. And we've talked about in our episode about the dying oceans, the importance of plankton, phytoplankton's, zooplankton, those are the base of the food chains. And they're saying here, you know, we've got this decrease in reproductive capabilities, we've got a decrease in growth. And so without them, we just see a further breakdown of, like you said, that Marine food chain and Marine life.

 Another thing I saw was that they're actually having a huge impact on larger sea life as well. in Sea turtles, for example, they found that they will consume microplastics and they'll consume so much of it that they don't eat other food because they think they're full, they'll think they have food in their stomach and they'll die of malnutrition because obviously the plastic does not give them any nutrition. And so that's the same problem that they're seeing in these zooplankton is just basically that it's filling their digestive tracks. It's tricking them to think that they're full of food, when in reality they're eating nothing.

Kellan: [00:15:20] Yeah, it's interesting that you bring that up. I didn't take a lot of notes on the specific effects of microplastics on all these different types of life that they've found microplastics in. But I did see there were bits of research done on, you know, certain types of fish that like it affects their brain or their reproductive system, or it causes a certain stress response. Like they can see the effects of these microplastics on all sorts of marine life. 

And I think this is a good place to bring up the fact that it's not evenly spread. You know, there are some regions of the world, some countries that are producing way more microplastics and have a lot less regulation. Um, I think, you know, we've, we've talked about the fact that I spent some years living in Mexico. I lived in a state called Oaxaca and in one city I lived in a city called Juchitan, there was a river that ran through. And you would think like if you're ever walking outside, you want to go and take a stroll by the river. Right? But that was not the case in this town. Everybody goes in, dumps their trash into the river or at the edge of the river. So essentially if you go look at it, it looks like a river is running through a landfill and between walking through the trash there's puddles of black water, there's mangy dogs and pigs rolling around in it.

I was warned to stay away from it. You know, at one point while I lived there, there was a lot of rain and the river overflowed, and it flooded the town. One individual that I know went out kind of wading through the street and when he got back home, noticed a little red bump on his thigh and it kind of itched and irritated him didn't think much about it. Next time he looked, it had moved up his leg. Imagine how alarming that is. It's moving up his leg. So he goes into the doctor, they pull out this big parasite worm.

They had to burn the trail in case it laid eggs. Apparently it's some kind of parasite that makes its way toward your genitals and wreaks havoc. Anyways, that's a bit of a tangent just to demonstrate how gross it was, but all the plastic that we're producing and that we're wasting and that we're throwing away. Different places treat that differently. In fact, in China, the Yangtze river apparently contributes 55% of all plastic waste going to the seas. that that river bears an average of 500,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer and another source, "scientific American" claims that China dumps 30% of all plastics in the ocean.

There were some other research done by the Ocean Conservancy that says China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Those countries dump more plastic in the sea than all other countries combined. And so you get these interesting phenomenon. For example, there's the, if you've heard of the great Pacific garbage patch. In the Pacific ocean, there's these currents that have essentially created these massive islands of debris. This great Pacific garbage patch covers 1.6 million square kilometers and if you've ever seen images of it, you know, people think of it as like this Island of trash out in the sea, which in some parts it kind of is, but it's actually more spread out than that. but it's just full of like water bottles and lighters and toothbrushes and baby bottles and cell phones and plastic bags. and yet, according to a 2018 study, microplastics, the tiny little ones that you can't see account for 92% of all plastic debris on the ocean surface.

So going back to how prevalent is this again? We can't really say there's this many tons of microplastic in the world, but we do know that roughly 8.3 billion tons of plastic has been produced since the early 1950s. You think about that for every person in the whole world, all the billions of people there's more than a ton of plastic that has been produced for every single individual in the whole planet. And 60% of that has ended up either in a landfill or out in the natural environment. and what's crazy is that in the past 70 years, ya know new plastic production or they call it virgin plastic production has increased 200 fold. Like that's not 200%. That's 200 times. Which is why, you know, going back to the example of that great Pacific garbage patch, supposedly, you know, it's believed to have increased 10 times, tenfold every decade since 1945. And all of that plastic wasn't even here a handful of decades ago, like this is a new phenomenon.

Kory: [00:19:38] Man, those numbers are insane. Just to consider number one, how new the creation of plastic is, but number two, how fast it's grown and how much we're already producing. I read somewhere that we're currently producing somewhere around 200 million tons of plastic every year. And that from 2040 to 2050, that's supposed to pretty much double to 400 million tons of plastic per year.

And so when you consider all of the pollution that's already come from plastics and how little we know about it. It just makes it so crazy to think about where we'll be at 30 years from now, as far as the amount of plastics on earth. And it's such a shame, and it's so sad because a good portion of those plastics come from single use. From straws, from plastic bags, from water bottles. They're basically things that are used one time for a few minutes, but that stay in our environment as a polluter for hundreds, if not thousands of years and that as we're starting to learn now, they're not just ugly and they don't just harm Marine life, but they are detrimental to humans as well.

So to reiterate a little bit what Kellan said, like there are so many different types of plastics. There's so many different sizes. There are so many different shapes and chemical makeups for different microplastics, that it is really hard to be able to simply test the effects that a microplastic has on person. You know, you could do a study with a rat, put microplastics into their food and have them ingest them and see what happens, but the sheer number of microplastics that exists make it impossible to really do a thorough test, to know what the effect is. But there are some things that we do know.

So studies have shown number one, that we are starting as humans to ingest or inhale a lot of microplastics. And while the numbers from these studies vary because they are so new and they're trying to work through all of this there are studies out there that suggests that we ingest up to a credit cards worth of plastic each week. And another one said that babies can get a million microplastic particles from a single bottle of formula. It's caused when warm water or warm milk formula is put into the bottle. And then the parent shakes it. Depending on the type of plastic used in that bottle it can cause shedding of a lot of microplastics.

And like I said, those studies are new, they're evolving, not all studies are going to agree on the number and how many credit cards we're consuming each week or each month or each year. But the fact remains that we are ingesting a ton of plastics and we don't fully understand the implications.

As far as how those microplastics get into our body, there's a lot of different ways. So some of the more obvious ones would be microwaving or heating food in plastic containers or drinking from plastic water bottles and plastic cups. But like Kellan mentioned, they also make their way up the food chain through like seafood. If it's in fish and we eat the fish will then we're ingesting it.

It doesn't just go away. It can remain in our bodies like Kellan said over time, it actually builds up in our bodies. It can come from plants that are grown in soil that contained microplastics. It can come from animals that we consume that have ingested it. It's in our household dust. You know, when you sweep up the floor and knock up a bunch of dust, you're going to breathe in that dust, which contains plastics. It travels in the wind and even our rain water contains microplastics.

So there are ways to reduce the amount that we come in contact with, but in reality, there's no way to completely avoid it. But because we're continuing to produce more and more micro-plastics, it's going to be more and more prevalent in the atmosphere, in the, in our environments. And we're going to be consuming more of it.

So I have a long list of ways in which the chemicals in microplastics or merely the presence of those microplastic themselves can affect us. Some of these studies have been done on animals. Some of these have been observed in humans. So I'm gonna list a few off and maybe a few of them we'll go into more detail.

But it's been discovered that microplastics can increase obesity. It can cause slowed growth or developmental delays. It can even get into our brains. In animals they've observed that microplastics can get through the membrane protecting the brain from foreign bodies in the bloodstream and a lot of that is due to their size. Some of them are so small and like you said, some of the nano-plastics can make their way and actually get into our brains. A big one that they're researching right now is that it can get into the placenta and therefore the fetus. One study deliberately let pregnant mice inhale extremely tiny particles and later found those particles in almost every organ in the fetus. So the mother was the one that inhaled them and they later found them in the fetus, through the umbilical cord, through the placenta. so that would go to show that, likely, pregnant women are consuming microplastics and passing those onto their babies before they're even born.

There are certain chemicals in microplastics that can cause hormonal imbalances, nervous system problems. It can cause hearing loss. I think a huge one is cancer. I mean, we have seen how cancer rates have exploded over the last century and a large part of that is due to chemicals in microplastics that we're introducing to our bodies. There are chemicals called PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls, which are linked to various cancers that are known to be in plastics and microplastics that we're consuming. It can cause weakened immune systems. They found them in the liver and kidneys. And in hearts. Kellen, you mentioned that they can be so small that they can actually enter cells. That is just crazy to me that they can be so small that they can permeate a cell. And while they may not actively be doing anything to that cell, they can disrupt cellular activity, which are obviously crucial to how everything about humans operate.

Ya know, I saw mentioned that just like smoke pollution, inhaled plastics can cause lung problems. We don't have a density of it in the air yet that it's going to actively cause lung problems but they do believe that it could get to a point where there's so much microplastics in the air that it makes it hard to breathe.

And to me, this is the big one. This is the one that I think terrifies me the most and it's that it causes reproductive harm. It can lower testosterone. It's linked To a decrease in penis and testicles size in males, and a lower sperm count. So this is crazy to me. There's this book called "Countdown" by Shanna Swan. And it lays out how dire of a situation we're in when it comes to decreasing fertility rates and sperm counts. in the book, she cites studies that say the sperm counts are down 60% since 1973. Women in their twenties today are less fertile on average than their grandmothers were at 35. So we're talking a pretty rapid decline increase in infertility. The book even goes so far as to say that at current rates, sperm counts will reach zero by 2045. Now, obviously I can't back up that claim that would take a lot of research to go into.

But this article that I read about this book, was written by Erin Brockovich who is fairly well known, and I, I trust that she put in her due diligence in doing this research. And so we're talking about like children of men type stuff, here Kellan. Have you seen the movie children of men?

Kellan: [00:26:13] I didn't see all of it, but I saw some of it and I've never forgotten it. Or at least the part that I saw, like what an interesting premise, this idea of what happens to a society when nobody can have babies. 

Kory: [00:26:24] Yeah, exactly. And it's the same with like the Handmaiden's tale. There's these shows coming out about a future in which new children are not being born. And it's just crazy to think. You know, we talk a lot about things that could happen that would decrease the human population by causing people to die prematurely. But this is one that could cause a rapid decrease in population because we're not adding any more to it. You know, birth rates around the world are declining. Some of that is because people are choosing not to have kids, but I also think that it's becoming more difficult for people to reproduce. And if what this article is saying is true, if we were to continue at the same rate of decreasing sperm counts, we're talking extinction level problems here. So this is all because of certain chemicals called PFAS which is P F A S accumulating in our bodies and being passed to our children through the placenta during pregnancy.

Kellan: [00:27:11] Yeah. Specifically kind of targeting in on your comments about the effects of reproductive health my understanding is that birth rates in the U S have reached an all time low. And a lot of that is other factors. People choosing to have kids later, people choosing to have less kids. But there are a lot of people that are struggling with fertility and we talked recently about the whole controversy that's out there between, you know, whether the issue is overpopulation or over consumption. not that we need to explain that again, you can go listen to the episode if you haven't heard it.

But even if you are an individual who thinks yeah, the population decreasing is a good thing, the issue is that there's a whole world of problems when you have an aging population and you kind of have this upside down pyramid, right? You've got less young people than you do have old people. And as they all age, trying to support that older demographic, what that does to an economy, you know, the, the ways that we just can't sustain a workforce like that. What that does to medical care and our entire infrastructure. Even if you do believe that that's what's best in the long run, it seems like that alone would cause some measure of societal collapse. 

Kory: [00:28:18] Yeah. I mean, I personally think that is collapse, that is the definition of collapse, a sustained decrease in human population over a given area for a given period of time. It would completely lead to, again, in my opinion, a decrease in societal complexity, we wouldn't be able to maintain a society if we had that inverted pyramid, if everybody was getting older on average, and there wasn't a younger population to keep things running.

Our economies, our financial system is also fragile and relies on growth. It relies on more people to spend more money, to get into more debt, to use more resources, all of those things in order to survive. And so I don't think there's any way that we could have a decrease in population, especially an aging population that would not result in some sort of societal collapse.

Kellan: [00:29:02] And that's just one of the effects on humans that you mentioned, you know, that microplastics have. And if it's causing all these issues, not only in people, but also in people's food source, you know, as microplastics become more prevalent, that's only going to exacerbate the problem.

Going back to what I mentioned early on, when we first started this conversation, I don't know how worried to be about this. Like, okay. There is now plastic in all of my organs. You know, all my tissues, my skin that's probably causing problems and probably will cause problems for me down the road. But we've got all these medical advances, right. We're living longer than we ever have. Does it offset? So on a personal level, do I need to drink less from plastic water bottles? Probably just for the sake of not adding to the waste and pollution, but for my own health, I don't know.

Kory: [00:29:48] Yeah, I think for me, I'm definitely going to be more conscious of that. I think it will cause me to decrease or at least to go out of my way to try and slow the amount that I am, for example, drinking from a water bottle for pollution sake, and also for my own health sake. It's right now impossible to know what damage it's doing to us and I think that is what is so scary. Maybe it's not that big of a deal. Maybe it just sits there dormant and really won't have an effect and maybe it's killing us. We just, we don't know. And it will take time to find out. So I know on my part, this is going to be something that over the coming years, I'm going to be watching out a lot for, to see what new studies are coming out, explaining what they're finding, what effects they think this could be having on people.

And surely as they do as these new studies come out, we'll touch back on the topic again. Maybe do another episode on this to get a little bit further into it and at least leave some updates along the way.

Kellan: [00:30:37] Yeah, and however big, this problem really is, which, like you said, we'll find out in the coming years, it's interesting how it intersects with all the other things that we've talked about. They all kind of compound on each other. You know, in doing the research one of the things I saw is that microplastics have been shown to be a carrier of infectious diseases and we just had a recent conversation about all the reasons why we can expect to see more and more infectious diseases.

And so if the introduction of more and more micro-plastics is just going to multiply that problem. And the increase in microplastics is going to continue to have an effect on the environment, which influences the sustainability of so much of what we do, you know, there's that interplay with climate change and what some of the results of this do to the economy and in turn, what that causes in government regulation and politics and all the different opinions and the polarization and the social conflict. It's almost like if you've got somebody who has all these weights stacked on their shoulders, this is just whether it's a big weight or a small weight you're adding to the stack. And that individual can only withstand for so long.

Kory: [00:31:41] Yeah, it's kind of like the metaphor that we used way back at the beginning of this podcast, which was around like a Jenga tower, like, you can only pull so many pieces out until one of them becomes the one that causes the whole thing to fall down. So Kellan, this has been an awesome topic. Thanks for your part in doing the research. And we'll talk again next week.