An Educators’ Commitment for a Plastic-Free Mediterranean SeaDecember 6, 2021
On 10th November 2021, Nature Trust – FEE Malta via its EkoSkola Programme launched an educational resource pack aimed at raising awareness and encouraging students’ actions towards sustainable living, responsible consumption, care for marine biodiversity, and the reduction of litter.
A recurrent theme at the COP 26 meeting, as well as other similar international events, was the need for a change in mindsets that would enable the effective decisions needed to change the way we live and the choices we make. However, a change in mindset is dependent on a well-planned educational process that does not focus only on the acquisition of knowledge, but more importantly on the development of skills, attitudes and values. This enables the learner – irrespective of the age – to develop the ability to take effective actions and become an active citizen bringing about change first in his or her behaviour and then in the community.
Covering more than 70% of our planet the sea is at the root of most of our activities and impacts our wellbeing directly by providing us with considerable supplies of food and indirectly by moderating our planet’s climate and sustaining a myriad of human activities.
Being a closed sea and a hub of a variety of land and sea based socio-economic activities, have rendered the Mediterranean Sea the most polluted sea in the world. One of the greatest culprits is plastic pollution that, besides taking ages to decompose, is killing millions of creatures who die as a result of ingesting plastic objects mistaking it for food or by getting entangled and suffocating in drifting waste. However, the damage doesn’t end there: the sun breaks down plastic into tiny fragments called micro-plastics that find their way into food-chains gradually unleashing poison in the bodies of the fish that ingest them … and finally ending up on our plates.
Faced with this alarming situation, the Prince Albert II Foundation of Monaco approached the Tara Ocean Foundation, the Surfrider Foundation Europe and the MAVA Foundation to embark on the Beyond Plastic Med (BeMed) initiative in March 2015. BeMed (www.beyondplasticmed.org) is committed to a plastic free Mediterranean Sea. BeMed’s mission is based on (i) creating and supporting networks of agencies committed to curbing plastic pollution; (ii) promoting research and sustainable solutions; and (iii) raising public awareness and disseminating good practices in the field.
BeMed commissioned Nature Trust – FEE Malta to produce an educational pack that supports teachers by offering educational experiences about the marine habitat and the creatures living in it, the dangers that threaten this environment and what can be done to prevent its degradation.
The pack seeks to adapt to the various needs of learners in different school realities. Consequently, the pack provides a set of activities and resources that span various ages (3-16 years), learning abilities and curriculum subjects, while addressing the cross-curricular theme of Education for Sustainable Development. The pack was developed by teachers for teachers and is therefore sensitive to the needs and resources available at the grassroots hence improving the pack’s chances of implementation. The pack is being disseminated among all schools in Malta and Gozo and through the Eco-Schools global network. It can be accessed here: https://ekoskola.org.mt/resource/bemed-educational-resource-pack-clean-seas-by-eco-schools-malta/. Feedback, suggestions and comments are welcome on [email protected].