Pupils discuss how to save the ocean

February 23, 2017

Bradfield’s Lower Sixth Geographers welcomed ocean advocate Emily Penn to Bradfield on Tuesday afternoon who led a workshop and gave a talk on the rising threat of Sea Plastics.

Emily began by giving a brief overview of her role and the projects she manages which include Pangaea Explorations and eXXpedition. While travelling to her architecture job in Australia on a boat called Earthrace, which is fuelled 100% by biofuel, she was shocked to come across the vast amounts of rubbish floating in the water 3,000 miles from land.

Wanting to make a change, Emily decided to put her architecture career on hold and travelled to an island in Tonga to help solve the on-going problem. Here, after educating the local community, and living with a local family, she organised the largest ever community-led waste clean-up, getting together three-quarters of the island’s population to help.

In the workshop, Emily set the pupils a task, asking the question: “How could we solve this global ocean plastic problem?” Working in groups, the pupils had to come up with ideas to reduce the plastic that ended up in the oceans, bearing in mind whether their solution helped solve the problem close to its source or after the plastic had reached the ocean.

Pupils came up with many different methods, including product redesign, plastic standardisation, taxation, and education, all of which related directly to the Ocean Governance course they have been studying.

During the lecture in the evening, Emily focussed more on her journey from being at university as an Architecture student to travelling to the most remote places in the world in search of ocean plastic. She spoke a lot about her experiences of the time in the Line Islands of Kiribati in the South Pacific; the islands have little to no communication with the outside world, apart from one boat, the Kwai, delivering essential goods every six months.

Overall, it was a highly insightful and enjoyable day and Emily is a truly inspirational role model.

Imogen Lowe (J)

Alcestis 2019

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