The View from the Classroom Window

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Plastic in Our World: Day 3

With your kids
1. Review what you learned in Day 2 about the ocean gyres and marine debris.

2. Speculate together what all that plastic in the ocean might be doing to the different kinds of animals that live in the ocean. Then watch this solemn youtube video. It is appropriate for all ages, but I recommend you watch it with your kids, because it is sad. (Can you recognize any of the plastic bits?)

3. Look at the other images below, and talk about them.







Cape fur seal lying on rock, dead of suffocation from a plastic wire wound around its neck, South Africa. Image from Pollution Issues ©Martin Harvey; Gallo Images/Corbis.



The sea turtles often get the plastic bags stuck in their throats and they choke to death.



A turtle named "Mae West" who you can see more of here.


According to its source, "This whale swam into clear plastic sheeting that it could not see in the water - the whale died soon after this picture was taken."





This Cuvier’s beaked whale was recently found dead washed up on a British beach. Its stomach was clogged with plastic bags.


4. Read together this article about the three (mainly plastic) bits of your trash that are most dangerous to wildlife

5. Read together this article about how one woman took what she had learned about plastic and sea life and helped her community find ways to be part of a solution.

It is sad to know this is happening to our world's amazing, wonderful creatures. But it is good that we are learning about the problem now, and can make choices--and encourage others to make choices--that will help make things better for marine animals in the future. What is one specific thing your family can do differently that will help?

If you are interested in learning more
--a great website for research into marine debris.

--more photos and information about this issue of plastics in the ocean


Website of the day: Hawaii: Message in the Waves, the website of a new BBC documentary.

Note from Lisa--Today's lesson was a downer, that's for sure. The truth is often ugly. But we can't hide from it, as we are learning! If this post was too graphic for your taste, don't worry--we are moving on to other aspects of plastics tomorrow, and in upcoming days will discuss the good things about plastic as well as the bad. : )

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