Can you cut 1 Tonne of carbon pollution out of your life?Take the challenge
Right now, most kids are completely enamored with Pokemon Go. Except for seven-year-old marine campaigner, Meredith Moss, who is more interested in saving our oceans than catching Pikachu.
Meredith recently watched a performance by 'The Blowfish', a passionate 'heavy metal marine biologist' at a science fair in the UK. The Blowfish explained how pollution is impacting our oceans. Not content with simply learning about threats to the ocean, Meredith was so inspired by the show that she decided to take action in her community.
[Image Caption] Plastic trash pollution on beach of Labuan Bajo. Image: Getty Images
You're never too young to start protecting what you love
Meredith wrote letters to her local council, asking if they would encourage the business community to provide less plastic packaging on products. Meredith quickly realised that while individual behaviour change is awesome, it was more important for her to focus her efforts on helping businesses stop supplying plastic.
Plastic never breaks down, which is why it is such a huge threat to the ocean. More than 8 million tonnes of plastic is making its way to the ocean on a yearly basis, where it's more than likely a marine animal will ingest it. Single-use plastic is particularly poisonous to the environment. As the name suggest, it's used once and then discarded, ready to wreak havoc on the environment for hundreds of years.
Straws seriously suck, and not just literally. The U.S alone uses 500 million plastic straws every day. We use straws for around twenty minutes before we toss them away, which is an astonishingly quick lifespan for an item that will be on the planet forever. Straws also contain BPA, and can't be recycled.
[Image Caption] Meredith proudly showing her bamboo straw, a great alternative to the plastic version.
Straws quickly popped up on Meredith's radar as particularly problematic. She was horrified when she discovered that both McDonalds and Burger King dispensed plastic straws, and wanted to tell them so in a letter.
Meredith's mum, Shona Moss, suggested a petition instead and together the sea life-saving duo created one. The petition quickly reached a thousand signatures and Shona and Meredith emailed it to McDonalds CEO in the UK and to the Environment agency.
"Both replied saying that they already do a lot for the environment and neither really addressed the petition directly. McDonald's did point out that their straws are technically recyclable, however in our reply email we were keen to point out that it's not good enough for a product that rarely even makes it to your home to be put into your domestic recycling to be recyclable" Shona said.
Many products labeled as 'degradable' or 'recyclable' are only so under particular conditions, highlighting the need to avoid using these items in the first place.
The importance of inspiring children
Seven-year-old Meredith is a stellar example of the positivity that can come from children engaging with nature. Since learning about ocean ecosystems, Meredith has not only developed big aspirations to create change on a global scale, but also planet-friendly habits for the future.
Meredith turns eight shortly, and has asked anyone that might buy her a birthday present for it to be plastic free. Kids also have a wonderful (and often hilarious) way of saying exactly what they mean, so when Meredith was shopping with her grandma Meredith wasn't shy about pointing out the "horrifying amount of plastic" her grandma was purchasing!
There's evidence that exposing children to natural settings raises interest in environmental stewardship, and can even lead to careers and hobbies connected with nature. We protect what we love, so this ideology makes total sense. As dramatic as it sounds, Encouraging children to connect their actions with the impact they have on the planet through first-hand experience and education is essential for the survival of the planet.
Since learning about plastic pollution, Meredith has since become aware of her carbon footprint is (something I was utterly oblivious to as a kid). Imagine how bright the future could be if every child on the planet developed sustainable knowledge and habits like this from a young age?!