Max Liboiron was researching impossible pollution and environmental crises when they first got into plastic. A self-proclaimed “discipline agnostic,” with background in fine art and social science, Liboiron was pursuing a PhD, focusing on solid-waste management in 1800s New York, when a simple suggestion re-routed them.
“I told someone that I was working on impossible waste problems and how they became possible and they said, ‘Oh, so you must be working on plastics. And this was in the early 2000s when there was barely any research on it,” Liboiron says. “I said, ‘No, because that’s actually impossible.’ I thought about it for a week and decided I should turn all my attention to that. Halfway through my PhD, I changed the topic.”
After delving into plastics research, studying how scientists and activists were articulating this new kind of pollution, Liboiron decided it was time to start doing the science. Now, Liboiron wears many hats. An activist, scientist, mentor and associate professor at Memorial University, their work is making an impact—and helping others to do the same—on many levels.