Soundview School Our Ocean & YOU!
Week 2 of Our Ocean & YOU campaign started at Soundview School, one of our favorite schools in our area because all of the students we have met through summer camp are so kind towards our environment. Located in Lynnwood, Soundview School is a forward thinking and globally aware school. Their students are exposed to project based learning. They consider wicked problems our world faces and how social justice gets tied into the equation. As soon as the students started entering, we were greeted by hugs and excitement as nearly half the students were campers at Beach Camp! This took Katrina (campaign manager and second mermaid in command) and I by surprise as we know these kids dressed in wet suits, board shorts, and bikinis...not in our school clothes!
We were blown away with the knowledge the middle school students had and the interest they showed in the ocean and the problems surrounding it. I shared with the students that our ocean is an incredible place, filled with amazing creatures. We chanted together, I say breathe, you say ocean...breathe...ocean...breathe ocean. Although I share all this beauty, the crux is there is terrible pollution. Not only are climate change issues like ocean acidification, coral bleaching, and rising sea temperatures urgent for the health of our ocean, plastic pollution is also a wicked problem on the rise.
"We need wicked solutions to these wicked problems."
The entire campaign to bring the ocean to our youth in a school setting is to empower students to be part of the solution. Out of all the issues facing our ocean, we chose to focus this campaign on plastic because Plastic Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch was chosen by The Nature Generation as a Green Earth Book Award winner. It all starts with three simple steps: rethink your relationship with plastic, refuse single use plastic #RefuseSUP, and raise your voice to share with friends and family.
After the presentation, a boy named King approached us with an important concern. He asked, “How do we get people to care? Not everybody is going to listen.” We explained to King that yes, this is true, but that is why we need to raise our voices together.
By sharing with students the beauty of the ocean coupled with ocean pollution, we can create a change. Soundview School students have a big impact on our community and are working on how they can rethink their relationship with plastic. I am really excited about this because children/youth have influenced major movements in the past including campaigns surrounding seat belts and smoking. When students find out about harmful actions, they speak up. Kids tell their parents, their siblings, their friends, and their teachers. Kids raise their voices and bug their parents about buckling their seat belt, turning the water off if it is running, smoking, and more. With the ocean and plastic it is simple, a healthy ocean means healthy people and healthy ocean animals. We have become a single use plastic society and this must change. We must rethink and refuse plastic whenever possible. #RefuseSUP
Our children have grown up with single use plastic everywhere in their life, yet it only truly infiltrated our society in the late 1980's. Once students learn it ends up in our ocean and that we do not actually need it, they start to speak up. Children become influencers. Through this campaign, we are encouraging the next generation to be the voice for our ocean because the ocean does not have a voice. Children understand they need to speak for the sharks, turtles, jellies and every other ocean creature. This excites me...they get it...and it gives me hope that our world will be a different place if we can unite the voice of the next generation and help them understand their voice matters! Soundview School Students...your voice matters. Let's share it with our community. I'm looking forward to working with you now and into the future. Our ocean needs 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.