The Volvo Ocean Race Sustainability Team visited a Brazilian farm school to talk to children aged 6-11 about the plastic crisis – and also to find out how they are taught about protecting the ocean and the inspiring ways they are taking actions to reduce their environmental impact.
At the school, the teachers give lessons on how properly disposing of single-use plastic, in towns and cities, stops waste materials entering rivers and eventually the sea where they can have an impact on ocean health.
Some of the children had also visited the Globe in the Race Village, in Itajai, to experience the Education Programme in action.
Lucy Hunt, Education Programme Manager, said: “It’s really important that the children understand the connection between the land and the ocean and how what we do upriver can have an effect on the health of our oceans.
“To see how the children are engaging with the environment and how they loved their visit to the Globe in the Race Village, learning about the ocean, how they want to protect it from plastic pollution and be champions for the seas is really inspiring.”
The children also learn how if cooking oil is not disposed of properly it can end up in rivers and ultimately, the ocean. It has been estimated that just one litre of oil can pollute 100,000 litres of seawater.
They bring in used cooking oil from home, which is turned into soap by mixing it with bicarbonate of soda and detergent. Since 2013, the school has collected over 12,000 litres of oil. What they don’t use is sent for conversion to biodiesel.
William Vale, who teaches at the school, is also presenting the Education Programme sessions to schoolchildren in the Race Village. He said that the school aims to teach the children about the need to protect the environment and the connection between the land and sea.
He said: "The children learn that when you pollute the land you are also polluting the ocean. By explaining how ocean species can be affected by plastic we are also sending a message to their families and hope they take actions to reduce their impact on our precious environment."
Gabriela Cundosde do Silvo is a pupil at the school and visited the Globe in the Race Village to learn more about plastic pollution and solutions to the crisis.
She said: “It was so interesting to be able to see the Volvo Ocean Race come to town. We need to protect the oceans and stop throwing plastic away because the fish and birds are eating it and when they do this they could die.”
Pupil Lelicia Cecotto, added: “I learned that we shouldn’t use toothpaste which contains microplastic because it can go to the ocean and be eaten by the fish and other animals.”