WE DON’T WANT SINGLE-USE PLASTIC IN OUR LIVES!
Students from all over Mallorca joined the 5th edition of The Changemakers Project, run by Save The Med Foundation and co-financed by Fundación Jesus Serra from Grupo Catalana Occidente.
The challenge: present ideas to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic. Teams of students aged 15 to 18 presented 22 different projects, as well as 4 classroom projects presented in the Juniors category. All of them addressed our overconsumption of plastics and proposed innovative solutions to curb our bad habits.
The students combined technology, environmental awareness and innovation to help their schools and communities reduce plastic in their lives. Supermarket apps that reward plastic reduction, reusable mask businesses, homemade beauty products, rap songs and educational talks are some examples of this edition’s Changemaker projects. All ideas can be viewed on the project’s webpage.
“We want kids to think beyond recycling and beach cleans – how can we create a world where we stop consuming and producing needless materials? It’s not an easy challenge, but it’s the kind of forward-thinking we need in our lives if we want a bright future on this planet” says Jasmine Spavieri, the project’s coordinator at Save the Med.
To bring this young, environmentally aware community together, this year’s participants were invited to the very first Changemakers Event at Finca Son Fortesa in Alarò – where more than 100 attendees, including students, teachers and parents, shared and presented their work and ideas. Students gave talks, met like-minded peers and participated in workshops and games, with the collaboration of SharkMed and Palma Aquarium Foundation.
Save The Med announced which teams had been selected by a panel of expert judges, to join a series of marine science expeditions and outings at sea. This year’s JUNIOR teams surprised the judges with the quality of their projects. Participating schools were Queens College, CEIP Punta de n’Amer and Escuela Arimunani. On 27th July, forty young Changemakers joined Save The Med and Almas Marinas for an action packed marine science day aboard the vessel Falcao 1, complete with microplastic workshops and interactive shark talks.
Two stand out projects: Mundo Sin Plástico and EduPlasticos, from Colegio Montesión, will join Save the Med for an entire week aboard the Bonnie Lass vessel.
During their time on the ship, the students will be working side by side with marine scientists from Save The Med. They will learn about different Mediterranean species and how to identify them, as well as the type of challenges our marine wildlife faces today. Being out at sea will grant the students a unique perspective on the impact of plastic pollution on today’s wildlife, from microplastics to abandoned fishing gear.
Participating in marine science techniques and sampling, the students will be collecting real-time data on the state of the sea and observing things like human impact. If they’re lucky, sightings of dolphins, whales, turtles and Bluefin tuna will abound. A week at sea can turn into an unforgettable and unique experience for these young Changemakers, as they switch off their phones and learn to slow down to the pace of nature.
“Young people today are facing incredible challenges. It’s easier than ever to get distracted on social media or get discouraged by so much misinformation. But they have proven to be Changemakers, they have chosen to contribute towards biodiversity, rather than take away from it. They have made the choice to reduce their consumption of plastic, rather than polluting. And this gives us hope for the future.” says Bradley Robertson, president and co-founder of Save the Med.
Today’s environmental challenges can feel daunting for both adults and teenagers. But the Changemakers Project is all about empowering students. Their thoughts and actions can make a real change in the world.
Other selected teams were Blau Mediterrani from IES Porreres, Vitamin Sea from Green Valley School, #ForaBetterWorld from Colegio Montesión and finally ClaMar from Agora Portals – these teams will join Save the Med on-board the solar powered vessel Stenella, provided by TrueWorld, a partner organization that helped make this year’s Changemakers Event more sustainable: not only by providing a bus so that attendees could reach the event venue with a single vehicle, but also calculating and offsetting the event’s carbon footprint.
Next school year, the Changemakers Project plans to return, and it wants to take it a step further, engaging university level students at the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB), helping to promote innovation and research and devise immediately applicable solutions to plastic pollution.
This program has the financial support of the Jesús Serra Foundation of Grupo Catalana Occidente. According to its general director, Ignacio Gallardo-Bravo, “the program perfectly combines two of our main objectives: to promote training and education, in this case environmental protection habits, and to have a positive impact on the local community preserving the humanitarian values of our founder”.