Kristian Syberg, Associate Professor, Roskilde University

Keywords: anticipation, interdisciplinary, citizen science, youth engagement

In 2019 over 57,000 Danish school children participated in Mass Experiment 2019 – a nationwide mapping of plastic pollution in the Danish nature. The study is the world’s first national scientific mapping of plastic pollution.

School children systematically collected plastic in random locations in Denmark – on beaches, fields, streets, or forest paths. Afterwards, they returned to their schools to analyse their findings. Finally, the pupils’ data will be collected centrally. The results are aimed at generating new important data about the extent and type of plastic pollution in Denmark.
The Mass Experiment is part of the Science Festival organized by the national Centre for Learning in Science, Technology and Health in Denmark, Astra. The Mass Experiment is developed in cooperation with MarinePlastic, the Danish Centre for research in marine plastic pollution – supported by VELUX Fonden.
Kristian highlights the interesting and innovative methodological approach of this project that combines natural science laboratory methods with participatory social science methods, engaging with children and external stakeholders. Kristian reflects on the importance of involving the new generation in the creation of new pluralistic norms about global warming, because they are the future stakeholders, and it is highly relevant to include them as a part of searching for solutions relevant for their generation. The deeply interdisciplinary nature of this project allows to educate children about plastic waste, while simultaneously introduce them to the importance of societal engagement and being active citizens.

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