The New Plastics Economy and the classroom

In 2015, 193 countries committed to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.  The extent to which that vision becomes a reality will in no small way depend on what is happening in today’s classrooms. Indeed, it is educators who hold the key to ensuring that the SDGs become a real social contract with citizens.

Today my discussion is about plastics.  The topic is enormous as is the issue for our planet. It’s too big for any one country to tackle and requires a global partnership.

There’s plastics and the ocean. Plastic pollution poses a threat to human health, kills and harms marine life, damages and alters habitats, and can have substantial negative impacts on local economies. Check out plastic pollution resources from World Ocean’s Day. 
Then there’s microplastics. Another useful resource is the UN Environment’s comprehensive six-minute video about the problem, including microplastics, and the role of global partnership efforts can play in the solution.

Students could pose questions from a viewing of this video and discuss actions they and their families could take. Could they create a community awareness program for their school?

Students might find this challenge from the Ellen Macarthur Foundation an exciting opportunity posed to scientists, designers and other innovators. Perhaps they could look at the award winners and discuss the results. Could they see themselves in the position of the those who took on the challenge?

Finally, here’s is a lesson from the World’s Largest Lesson on redesigning plastic packaging.

 

For secondary students,  this could be adjusted for younger learners and provides open ended, project based opportunities to enhance global competences towards global citizenship.

Marilyn Snider can be contacted at marilyn@bethinkglobal.com.au

Her website is Bethink Global

 

 

 

 

 

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