We are past the point where we can simply recycle our way out of the ocean plastics crisis. It represents a serious environmental problem, harming marine life, disrupting ecosystems, and it has entered the food chain. Microplastics are now being found in human blood and lung tissue. We need new and innovative approaches to resolve this global issue. In timely acknowledgment of the seriousness of the challenge, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has announced a global effort to tackle plastic waste management and behavioural change.
The Circular Economy is driven by design and by rethinking how we use and reuse plastics to circulate products and eliminate waste and pollution. This economic model reuses, repurposes, and recycles plastic, rather than it being discarded as waste. Our innovative educational project will engage up to 1,550 children in Folkestone to learn more about their marine environment, conservation and the Circular Economy. The project also aims to mitigate so-called ‘eco-anxiety’ that children are reportedly suffering from by showing them how they can each make a positive difference to the world by taking steps to learn about and improve their environment.
Big Blue Foundation Volunteers will teach the children about the Circular Economy and how to ‘close the loop’ on waste plastic. The children will collect, sort and recycle ocean plastics during healthy activities including kayaking and paddleboarding at Folkestone Sea Sports Centre, operated by our partner charity The Sports Trust. We are designing and creating new products that are of higher value than the original material and the children will be able to see some of our project partners in action. We work with social enterprise Waterhaul.co who turn ocean plastics into high quality 100% recycled sunglasses and are expanding our efforts with our corporate partners in Kent, including The Oak & Rope Company and The Independent Pedaler.
Humans are having ever greater impacts on the environment and those impacts are driven by our decision‐making. For example, many people in the West lead unsustainable lifestyles that are contributing to climate change and biodiversity loss.
Understanding human behaviour is vital to developing interventions that mitigate threats to the environment and effectively lead to pro-environmental behaviour change, whether the focus is at the individual or societal level. The children and families that will benefit from our initiative will gain a sense of fulfilment and increase their personal well-being by being part of a local solution to a global problem.