“Everybody should clean up their mess,” a second grader from Lowell Elementary explained to us. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Plastic pollution is a people problem, and people need to find a solution.
Our Ocean & YOU is on a mission. We want all the children we reach to understand this simple message: the ocean gives us life as we know it and plastic is polluting our ocean. We want the students to fall in love with our ocean #LoveOurOcean and be inspired to protect it, because we protect what we love.
“I love the ocean because I love fish! They are my favorite animal,” a kindergartner proclaimed. Fish are one of the many animals in the ocean that are affected by climate change and ocean plastic pollution. Small fish feed on smaller fish, algae, plant particles, and plankton. Then larger fish feed on smaller fish, and ultimately we feed on fish too. When plastic enters the ocean, it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces over time. Fish, like other ocean creatures, cannot tell the difference between plastic and their normal food. When ocean animals eat the plastic, it bio accumulates up the food chain to people. See the study by Dr. Chelsea Rochman here.
“22 days out at sea in the North Pacific Gyre and guess what we saw in every net tow?” Annie asked the students. Fish? Sharks? Jellies? “Plastic,” Annie announced. Lowell Elementary students looked at her with wide eyes and silence fell across the room. This is the reaction we receive from every group of students we talk to. It is a no-brainer that plastic does not belong in the ocean; even the children know that, yet ocean pollution has become a wicked problem facing the sea.
Plastic is petroleum based, meaning it is made out of oil. So when fish are eating plastic, it is not only harmful to them, it is also harmful to people. Lowell Elementary students get this and all our ocean messages, everyone needs to clean up the mess we have made. This is not just one person’s problem; it’s our throw away society and only we can clean it up.
Together we can make a difference. When the children at Lowell Elemetary and all the other schools we are talking to see the effects single use plastic has on our ocean, they join us and refuse single use plastic in their life #RefuseSUP. Some have committed to skipping the straw, others to plastic water bottles or plastic silverware. The first step is to realize how plastic has invaded our lives, rethinking our relationship with plastic, refusing single use plastic, and raising your voice. Join us!
Special thanks to our sponsors Beach Camp at Sunset Bay, Samuelson Communications, Studio Fun International, Millbrook Press, Dive Into Your Imagination, Ocean Annie, Underwater Sports, Boxlight, and Light & Motion.