12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Creative Approaches to Reducing Global Plastic Contamination
Christina Gentile and Cory Newman
You are a part of a global effort to increase access to education and empower students through “open pedagogy.” Open pedagogy is a “free access” educational practice that places you – the student – at the center of your own learning process in a more engaging, collaborative learning environment. The ultimate purpose of this effort is to achieve greater social justice in our community in which the work can be freely shared with the broader community. This is a renewable assignment that is designed to enable you to become an agent of change in your community through the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For this work, you will integrate the disciplines of Spanish and Chemistry to achieve SDG #12: Responsible Consumption and Production.
Investigate how poor recycling practices are impacting rivers, ponds, the ocean or the earth and the consequences this can have on ocean life and on human health.
This active learning practice is designed to improve your academic skills, increase community connections, and improve social justice for our community.
View two of the following documentaries listed below where recycling practices (or lack thereof) and their impacts throughout the world are discussed. Take note of any (5 or so) topics, places, global impacts, etc. that strike you as fascinating, important, extraordinary, or simply touch you on a personal level. What jumped out at you? Why?
- Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (This video is copyrighted material.)
- Plastic Planet (This video is copyrighted material.)
- A Plastic Ocean (This video is copyrighted material.)
- Straws (trailer) (This video is copyrighted material.)
- Plasticized (This video is copyrighted material.)
- Bag It: Is your Life Too Plastic? (This video is copyrighted material.)
As demonstrated in part one, in many parts of the world, here in the U.S. and abroad, the recycling practices of plastic materials has not always been taken seriously or has been overlooked by the consumer. Many activists and organizations around the world have taken an interest in solving the issue of plastic contamination. Write a 2-3 page research paper focusing on what has been done and what is currently being done to address these concerns. Taking into account what you have found, provide an alternate solution or solutions that could reduce the amount of plastic waste throughout the world. Looking at your solution(s), how would you share your vision to encourage its implementation on a local and global level? What is the greatest impact you foresee it will have for people, the environment, and the world as a whole?Cultivating responsible use and recycling practices of plastic products:
Investigate how poor recycling practices are impacting rivers, ponds, the ocean or the earth and the consequences this can have on ocean life and on human health. Look up several articles, blogs, videos and/or contact people locally (ex.: an industry, a university) to learn more about the impact of recycling practices in your community, the Spanish-speaking country you selected or other areas of the world. Then, working with a partner, combine the research you have found to create an informational pamphlet, video or social media site to raise awareness and to communicate the impact good and poor recycling practices can have on society, both in your local community and the specific Spanish-speaking country you selected.Photo Journal of Local Recycling Practices of Plastics: Pictures and Thoughts:
As you move about your daily life (or travel to a park, visit downtown D.C., go for a hike, etc.) take careful observation of your surroundings. Take notice of where recycling practices, particularly of plastic products (bottles, bags, plastic wrappers, straws, etc.), have been good or bad. Use your phone or a camera to take pictures of these recycling practices. Then, using PPT, Prezi or another technological presentation mode, create a photo journal using the pictures from the observations you made. Under each picture note the location and provide a caption. To conclude your presentation, include a short paragraph (4-5 sentences) about how these practices are having an impact on the surrounding community or region, what could/should be done differently and what you personally could do to have an impact.