If you can’t reuse it, refuse it!
13 tons of plastic leak into the world’s oceans each year.
1 million plastic bottles are bought every minute.
50% of consumer plastics are single use.
500 billion plastic bags are used each year.
World Environment Day is the United Nation’s most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries. South Africa is one of those countries.
The theme for 2018’s World Environment Day is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’. The theme invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife and our own health. While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become over-reliant on single-use or disposable plastic with severe environmental consequences.
Straws, plastic teaspoons, prepacked food, and drink are just the beginning! This is an excellent opportunity for us to show children how to collect data that is useful, connected directly to each child and introduces an important skill for everyday interpretation of the world around her/him. Bar graphs and pie graphs would be excellent visual representations emphasising the threat to our environment from plastic.
Our discussions with children about our Earth, and our responsibility to our Earth and the contributions we can make need to be done sensitively and with empathy. Children can become very overwhelmed by the plight of our earth and ‘good news’ and ‘workable’, sustainable solutions need to be presented to children as well.
Using the 7 ‘Rs as seen on the graphic from Ubuntu Nomad may be useful as a progressive and ongoing discussion.
How about taking one of the 7 Rs each week and having discussions with your children about the theme, engaging in meaningful activities that will demonstrate that the ‘R’ is being acknowledged and action is being taken to implement the ‘R’ into everyday classroom and home practice.
In the preschool, simple activities in managing waste can be done. Role modeling by the adults will be very important.
Older children could keep a journal regarding the 7-week project to express their thoughts about the state our world is in, how they feel about the contribution they are making, and how they would like to participate more.
Middle and High school children should be looking to participate in some kind of community- based project that will take them out of the classroom and provide hands-on opportunities for deepening their understanding of the pedagogy of their place.
A good video for discussion as been inserted below.
Show the children that there is hope and OUR COUNTRY is part of this change!
The following website is very informative: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/one-year-after-launch-cleanseas-tide-turning
Teachers – there is even a World Environment Day email signature available for you to add to your emails! http://worldenvironmentday.global/en/get-involved/toolkits#brand-toolkit
Going forward, you may even be interested in extending the 7-week project by introducing the UN’s Goals for Sustainable Development. But that is another blog for another day…
Good luck 🙂