Project Medusa – Communicating Complexity: the systemic depth of pharmaceutical pollution in aquatic environments
Since the end of the nineteenth century, the division between nature and culture has been a fundamental characteristic of Western thought. As a result, today’s global society faces complex and challenging environmental issues. However, while pressures for change are increasing for well-known ecological problems, many aspects of our destructive impact remain overlooked. The pharmaceutical pollution of our aquatic environments is one of these. Utilising environment-centered and collaborative design, project Medusa aims to deconstruct the notion that nature and culture are separate and bridge knowledge gaps for increased attention and action on the issue of pharmaceutical pollution. This is achieved by analysing beings and objects, humans and non-humans by the relationships that they possess between each other. Medusa has drawn together stakeholders from healthcare, environmental conservation, policy development, infrastructure management, and scientists to gather insights into the sources and impacts of pharmaceutical pollution, appreciating the issue from a range of perspectives. The project sets the foundations for establishing a site of best practice in the city of Bristol (UK) for the reduction and management of pharmaceutical pollution. We demonstrate how collaboration between institutions must happen at multiple jurisdictional levels, perspectives and epistemologies for a shift towards sustainability to be achieved.
Pharmaceutical pollution; human-nature dualism; collaboration; environment-centered design
Margherita Sonnino Sorisio: is a recent first-class masters graduate in Anthropology with Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Bristol. She works in applying an anthropological understanding of humans to unlock innovation within sustainability and society, currently employing interdisciplinary collaboration and creative methods to instigate accountability and action in addressing environmental issues. Her passion lies in using sensory and participatory anthropological methods in community-centered research. Her research and practice occur at the intersection of culture, environment and health.
Jessie Brown: is a recent graduate of Geography with Innovation and Entrepreneurship as an integrated master’s degree at the University of Bristol. Born and raised on the shores of Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, Jessie has an inherent interest and love for the marine world. She connects with this environment through kayaking expeditions and sea swimming, developing a strong desire to protect the oceans from anthropocentric pressures. At university Jessie has had the opportunity to integrate interdisciplinary collaboration and creativity with scientific research to successfully develop innovative solutions for tackling real-world problems.