Influencing the next Generation

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Educating the next generation about plastic pollution

As adults we can make informed decisions based on our previous experiences, especially

through our past education where we have been given the skills to analyse, rationalise and absorb information.  We are exposed to media every day telling us about the harm of plastic but how do we impart this information to children?  It is through the amazing work of teachers that we educate the next generation and for my next ‘H’s Heroes’ may I introduce the lovely:-

Sarah Bennett 

Sarah is a secondary school science teacher in Coventry, UK.  She is as passionate as I am about the harm we are causing our planet with the mindless consumption of single use plastic.
I will let her words speak for themselves

” 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.”

A winning formula

Sarah and her students also decided to enter the Royal Society of Biology Bioartattack competition and this is what they said

“We were all so impressed with how unique your entry was, and the variety of skills your students used in making the piece. The judges thought it was a brilliant way to display such an important topic”.

 Sarah’s influence has had far reaching effects as as a result the headteacher has pledged to make the school plastic free by 2020.   Mission accomplished!!

A true Ocean Advocate !

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