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Our Organ Donation System Is Unfair. The Solution Might Be Too.

At any given time, there are about 13,000 people waiting for a liver transplant in the United States. Whether the cause is a virus, alcoholism or a bit of genetic bad luck, they’re all suffering while sick and scarred livers struggle to clean their blood. Over time, their intestines bleed. Fluid builds up in their legs and their chests. Their skin turns sallow. Confusion sets in. The only cure is to swap the old liver for a healthy one. Each year, about 8,000 people will get that chance. The rest will wait, getting sicker.

Science Has A Sustainability Problem

Mauricio Urbina was trying to save the planet on the day he realized he was simultaneously destroying it. A biologist who studies the bodies of fish and other sea creatures, Urbina was working on a project to understand what happens to crabs that eat tiny particles of plastic waste thrown out by careless humans. But after one particularly long day in the lab, he looked down and noticed — he was a careless human. A lot of his tools were plastic and would be thrown out after a single use, contributing to the stream of waste packing landfills and polluting waterways. He was working on the solution, but he was part of the problem.