Trashy stories

For the last couple of Garbology classes I shared stories with the children that are part of the Garbology curriculum. Like all the activities in this curriculum, there are various levels of activities one can do with the stories in the classroom once you read and discuss them.

The first story is called “Jala–The Plastic Eating Sea Turtle”. The story centres around young Palavi who walks along the seashore and discovers a crying and speaking turtle named Jala. Jala is crying because her species is endangered, and as she tells Palavi, its her fault as humans keep throwing so much plastic “away” that now he’s forced to eat plastic. This is especially a problem because of the microbeads that humans now put in their toothpaste and face wash. And, of course, because of the plastic bags. Palavi promises to help Jala by not using plastic any more. The story is a great one for children to see how their choices affect nature–including animals. We also continued our discussion about plastic and the way it harms other species like cows, who are also forced to eat plastic because of our behaviours.

The second story is called “A Place Called Away”. It is about two children–Aadi and Zoe. They love playing around the house, but they don’t much like cleaning up after themselves. Aadi’s mom threatens to throw all his toys “away”, but he doesn’t take her seriously. Until one day he finds all his toys are gone. Aadi and Zoe find a secret passage way to Away, which is filled with TVs, toys, furniture, and lots of smelly garbage. The episode is a dream, but serves as a wake-up call for Aadi who learns to put his belongings in the cupboards afterwards.

The beauty of this story is that it leads into a conversation about what is “away”? When we say we’re going to “throw this away” what do we mean? Where does it go? Students began to ask what they could do and after a few minutes one of the girls said they should write to the people who make biscuits and ask them to stop using multi-layered foil packaging. It’s uncanny because I was going to ask them to do something like that already and here they are coming up with such an idea on their own. This is their current homework project, which we should finish in the next couple of weeks so we can mail them before the end of the school year.

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