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Talking Plastic Pollution From Coast to Coast 
At Ocean Wise National Dialogue on Plastic, Canadian high-school students convened via video conference to discuss marine pollution.
Posted on October 30, 2018
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For the past six weeks youth from across the country have been connecting through video conference to discuss plastic pollution in Canada in the Ocean Wise National Dialogue on Plastics (https://education.ocean.org/oceanaction). Guided by the Centre for Global Education (http://tcge.tiged.org/), each week the youth participated in challenges and heard from expert mentors to better understand this complex issue.

Participating schools include:

  • Harbour View High School (HVHS), Saint John NB
  • David Suzuki Secondary, Brampton ON
  • Sir John Franklin High School, Yellowknife NWT
  • Robert Thirsk High School, Calgary AB
  • Career and Technology Centre (CTC), Calgary AB
  • ESSMV, St. Albert AB
  • Sa-Hali Secondary, Kamloops BC
  • Burnaby South Secondary, Burnaby BC

The youth truly are the future. They are the upcoming consumers, influencers, and change makers of the world. Through programs like the National Dialogue the students are given the opportunity to education themselves and empower others to make a difference for their future; and these students are seizing the opportunity.

From early on it was clear that the students were well aware of the issue, and are invested in their futures. Throughout the program there have been some very empowering reflections:

 “Single use plastic and a disposable society is a trend that we are used to, so let us change that trend. From paper straws to compost programs in schools and compostable coffee cups. We are faced with a mountain, but we can begin to move it simply by picking pebbles.”

– Cailin Dueck, Kamloops BC.

“…plastic is a double edged sword. It can be convenient in an economic way, but the problem comes when we use it without any common sense.”

– Juan Berasategui Gallego, Saint John NB

“We firmly believe that with the correct techniques and meaningful execution from a team of people that care about this issue, we can truly make a dent in the wall of plastics and waste in our waterways.”

– Eric, Maria, Yuan and Ethan, Calgary AB

Now these remarkable students are preparing to address their own schools during the Virtual Town Hall on November 8th. In this national event the students will collect data from their peers to determine what changes the youth of Canada want to see our country take to tackle plastic pollution. By engaging their own communities these students are educating and empowering others to make the everyday steps to reducing single-use plastic waste across Canada.

The data collected will go towards a formal proposal that representatives from each school will create during the Writer’s Retreat, to be held at the Vancouver Aquarium in mid-November. This paper will be presented to decision makers within the country.

To read more about the work the students are doing, visit the Ocean Action page on Education.ocean.org

Stay tuned for more information and highlights from the program.


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