Ocean Plastic Pollution
My husband and I have been to a lot of beaches in our lifetime, most of them are so beautiful for the resort side of thing, but sadly they are more and more dirty in general. This photo was taken from my trip years ago in Phu Quoc Island that is well known in Vietnam, especially for its beaches. I don’t want to post a reality photo of a beach that full of trash, but I am sure you will see tons of them by googling. Lilly has been to a few beaches in Canada, she is only 2 years and 8 months old. She loves the beach! What will we leave for her in the future?
There is no doubt about the fact that we face some major problems globally. Ocean plastic pollution is one of these crises. The world’s annual consumption of plastic materials has increased from around 5 million tonnes in the 1950s to nearly 100 million tonnes today. Plastic is now found in every ecosystem on earth. It is found in huge ocean gyres, creating floating islands of trash. Micro-plastics pollute the world's marine environments.
The problem is not easy to solve. But rather than becoming disheartened, we should all do our bit. By taking small steps, we here at EZeLilly try to show how we can all make a difference and become part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
In October, I saw a news feed on my social media posted by a high school friend about The Nobel Prize Teacher Summit that she was going to attend, “it is an international teacher conference held in Stockholm every year in October. Teachers from over 30 countries meet Nobel Prize Laureates, top scientists and peace activists around a theme of great importance in education” and the theme for 2019 is “Climate Change Changes Everything”. “The way we address climate change in education will have a huge impact on the life of future generations. But how do we fulfil our duty to educate without creating anxiety and fear? How do we support our students to transform their urge to make a difference into constructive action?”, that introduction surely took my attention. I’m not a teacher of anyone else but I'm the first teacher of my child. I then had a conversation with my friend to learn more about the lessons. I will include the link for all Nobel Prizes 2019 at the end of this post for anyone who interested. It has great resources for older kids.
Back to our topic today, one challenge we face, that all parents share, is now how to talk about ocean plastic to our children. How do we engage them in zero waste practices without scaring them?
Tell The Truth
We do not do our children any favors by shielding them from the truths of our world. Statistics can have a big impact. For example, we can make sense of the huge quantities of ocean waste generated each year globally by saying that the 6.4 million tonnes of plastic dumped into the ocean are the equivalent of trucks loaded with garbage stretching in a straight line almost from the west to the east coast of the US (2,300km).
When children understand the problems that we face intellectually rather than just emotionally, we equip them to do something, rather than being paralysed by hopelessness and fear. We give them the tools they need to become eco-friendly and ethical citizens of the future.
Explain the Problem with Plastic (and How it Gets into Our Oceans)
In order to help, children (and all of us) need to understand why ocean plastic is such a problem. They need to understand that it is not just the visible plastic, but the tiny, often invisible micro-plastic pollution that is the problem. We all need to understand that plastic kills wildlife, and disrupts ocean ecosystems in a range of different ways.
Two-thirds of the plastic pollution in the oceans comes from land. It is made up of:
- Litter dropped by individuals.
- Plastic washed down our drains and toilets.
- Escaped plastic from landfill sites and recycling centres.
- Plastic residue from poorly managed industry.
Understanding how plastic ends up in the oceans is crucial to tackling the problem.
Provide Constructive Solutions
The key, when talking to children about ocean plastic pollution, is focussing not only on the problem but also on constructive solutions. Children are likely to engage more positively when they can see not only the scale of the problem, but also how they can help.
You can teach your children how to help tackle ocean plastic by:
- Reducing the amount of plastic they use and refusing single use plastics.
- By thinking carefully where plastic waste goes, and reusing and recycling as much as possible.
- Playing a role in ocean clean-up by taking part in a litter-pick or beach clean close to where you live.
What have we done at EZeLilly to raise awareness?
1) We are finishing off the next video for our cartoon series channel - EZeLilly TV – and the topic for this video is Ocean Plastic Pollution. As usual, there will be no heavy knowledge, we will transform and deliver the message in such a simple way to guide young kids the right behaviours. The video will be uploaded on our Youtube channel and our Facebook Page tonight, we also share the URL on our website.
2) The designs for our next line of products - reusable snack bags and foldable shopping bags – have the ocean themes. We're so in love with these when searching for images from a royalty-free source that we have a subscription and will use them for our next products. We called them Sea Lovers and Help a Turtle. Beside contributing “1% for the planet” from every EZeLilly’s product sold, we will donate $1 from each sale of Sea Lovers and Help a Turtle collections for Great Canadian Shoreline Clean Up. We live in Kamloops, BC, and there is currently no clean up for our area to join as volunteers, but this is one of the thing we really want Lilly to take part in, whenever we have a chance.
Here are some related links from the post:
*Nobel Prize Teacher Summit 2019 – Climate Change Changes Everything
*NASA Climate Kids
*Great Canadian Shoreline Clean UP
How about you? We would love to hear the steps that you're taking and learn more from your ideas of solutions.