Why of Climate Change

Conversation Starters: Plastic in the Oceans

Here are some fun questions to kickstart an eco-convo with your kids about the impact of plastics in the ocean.

Q: Did you know, the word ‘plastic’ has its roots in the Greek word ‘plastikos,’ what do you think it means?

A: Plastikos translates into ‘capable of being molded or shaped’.

Q: Now, look around your home, your room, your backyard, and name all the things you see that are made with plastic.

A: ___ (That’s right there are SO many things made of plastic.)

Q: Now look around again, and list out the plastic things that you use ONCE and THROW AWAY.

A: ___

Q: Did you know, much of the plastic we “throw away” ends up in garbage patches all over the ocean?

A: Rotating ocean currents called gyres act like whirlpools that pull marine debris into one location, forming “patches.” There are 5 major gyres in our ocean.

Q: Did you know, the largest garbage patch is off the coast of California and is three times the size of France?

A: The “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” is estimated to weigh more than 43,000 cars (that’s 87,000 tonnes) and have 1.8 TRILLION pieces of plastic.

Q: Has anyone tried cleaning up these garbage patches?

A: A teenage entrepreneur named Boyan Slat decided to do something about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and created an elaborate plan to clean it up. Check out the results so far. How would you clean up floating plastic in the ocean?

Q: What do you think is one of the strangest things ever found washed up on a beach?

A: An entire Harley Davidson motorcycle in a styrofoam container! It washed up in North America from the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Read more about the weird things that don’t belong on beaches, found on beaches.

General, open-ended plastic questions:

Q: Now that you know about the impact of plastic in the ocean, what single-use plastic items will you try to reduce?

Q: Of the plastic things that you reuse, can you replace it with something not made of plastic?

Q: Where do you think our trash and recycling ends up?


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