Educating the next generation about plastic pollution
As adults we can make informed decisions based on our previous experiences, especially
” Like many I was first moved by whats happening in our oceans after watching Blue Planet II. As a biologist, I have always been fascinated by, and have a love of the natural world. This combination made me feel overwhelmed that we needed to do something. I couldnt just sit and let our oceans be destroyed.
I began making changes to my own use of plastic – reusing plastic bottles, reducing use of cling film, avoiding unnecessary plastic bags. In addition I felt myself watching people in supermarkets feeling compelled to ask shoppers if they really needed to put their one vegetable item in a plastic bag. It didn’t take me long to realise that I was actually in a priveleged position as a secondary school teacher to be able to influence the young and that if I did it well they could then influence not only their own families but their peers also. So I embarked on a project with year 7 students on plastics pollution and the ocean. Part of this was creating educational displays in the school to generate awareness of the issue. The displays helped win the schools department display competition for addressing topical issues. We also spent time looking at endangered ocean creatures, reducing our plastic footprint and alternatives to plastic.
We decided to enter the Authors for Oceans competition & the students chose to create a hammerhead shark using recycled plastic bottles. As part of its development, students spent a lesson picking up any plastic they could find around the school site. Despite the school being “tidy” and mostly litter free they were amazed how many bits of plastic they found. The shark has entered the competition and the school has also agreed to display it within the grounds to continue with the awareness. Our project still has legs and our next phase will be exploring how the students can use their new knowledge and social media to start influencing their peers.”