The problem with plastic pollution can feel overwhelming and bleak, often when I discuss plastic pollution with other adults I am asked, “how can I help?” Our blog has offered many great suggestions for how individuals can work toward a solution to the plastic problem, hopefully you have read these and thought about implementing these changes in your life. I offer up these same suggestions to people who ask me this in conversation. As an educator, I think there is one deeply important way that adults can help that I often forget to suggest when asked: teach children about the problem, make them care, and give them the chance to help.
Unfortunately, the plastic pollution will not be solved in a matter of a couple of years. People who are children today will eventually be adults with the power to impact policy and inspire change in our society. If we want the future to be one where humans care about protecting our planet, we must start that care and education young. While it is incredibly important for adults to change their habits regarding plastic, what if we did not have some of these habits in the first place? What if people always had a reusable water bottle and never bought a plastic one? What if, instead of ever buying plastic sandwich bags, we people always reached for sustainable and reusable products. These are small examples of the habits that we can change in the next generation. It's a lot harder to give up something that you have grown to rely on. We have the power to create a generation which is less plastic dependent and which cares about sustainability and the environment.
I believe that one of the most powerful forces in creating change is education. If we want a world with less plastic pollution, let’s raise kids who have the power of knowledge, who know enough to care about the problem, who know ways that they can help, who have the confidence to find and share new, creative ways to protect our planet from plastic pollution. I will be posting two blog posts for parents, teachers and anyone with children in their lives with ways that you can share knowledge about plastic pollution with children.