We had an engaging and informative sharing session last Friday, discussing the issue of marine trash and brainstorming for creative solutions! The turnout was great – 29 people attended, from all backgrounds and nature groups. There was a good mix of students and working adults, veterans and newbies! A huge thanks to November and Ria for organizing this workshop, and Kah Ming from ICCS for being our guest speaker! [Read More]
What a lovely spread of food prepared by Ria! Also notice the two golden pigs in the background…
The participants who arrived early were already engaged in some serious discussion about marine trash issues!
At 7pm, November started off by giving a brief overview and agenda for the evening. Everyone was encouraged to contribute to our shared Google document as the workshop progressed. This is our first time trying out collaborative note-taking, and safe to say it was well-utilized by all our social media-savvy participants!
Kah Ming delivered a very simple but effective talk about the facts and negative impacts of marine trash. What stood out for me was the video by Chris Jordan on the albatrosses on Midway Atoll. The picture of a dead albatross chick with its exposed stomach full of plastic objects has long been the signature image many associate with when discussing marine trash. Although it was not the first time I saw the video, it is still heartbreaking every time I view it.
After all that depressing information, Kah Ming showed us how we can take action! Having worked with ICCS for the past 6 years, she shared the data collected from last year’s coastal cleanup. Do you know that the top trash items collected are plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic containers and cigarette butts? These are everyday objects we often use and throw away without a thought. Another new thing I learnt was that even though Singapore has a 60% recycling rate (as of 2012), most of it is construction waste and the amount of plastics recycled is only 12%. This suggests a rather low rate of recycling for domestic waste.
Finally, Kah Ming highlighted ways which we can practice the 3Rs at the personal, family/community, corporate and national levels. Many of these habits, such as bringing your own shopping bag, using recyclable utensils, etc are already familiar to us, but are you practicing them or influencing those around you to do the same?
Time for a break and a group photo!
After the break we started off with our first activity: Match the Message! We were broken into 5 groups and each group had to convey a mystery message to the audience (the public) in a fun but impactful manner. Here are the presentations!
Group 1: Have you dabao food recently?
Group 2: Where does the plastic spoon go?
Group 3: Ah boy, stop littering lah!
Group 4: The four horsemen of trash – Dengue, floods, fines, death.
Group 5: The last living individual of the white turtle species Seanus Yapus L
Everyone’s creative juices were in overdrive that evening as the groups came up with rather hilarious skits that were both memorable and catchy. Kudos to the participants for being such great sports and gamely displayed their acting chops!
The final activity was a discussion/sharing session on possible policy/knowledge gaps in the realm of waste management. The main problem agreed upon by most of us was how to reach out to people who ‘simply don’t care’. Is it still effective to continue to preach to these people about the dangers/problems of marine trash, or is it time to change our approach, or as what Jennifer said, ‘to make marketing sexier’? There were many creative ideas once again, such as a No Cleaner’s Day and the meme-inducing cartoon of Mr. Lonely Plastic Bag.
Alas, the air-con got cut off, reminding us of the end to this workshop. It was heartwarming to see so many participants mingling and exchanging contacts after the workshop ended, and for that we have achieved one of our aims, to bring like-minded people together (and ‘re-energising the old and jaded’)! Thanks to everyone for showing such great enthusiasm and (monetary) support for our workshops; we could not have done it without you guys! And of course see you at the next workshop!
- Kah Ming's slides: http://www.slideshare.net/
- Collaborative note taking: Read the notes taken by participants here
- ICCS: http://coastalcleanup.nus.edu.sg/
- Midway film: http://www.midwayfilm.com/
- Continue the discussion at our FB event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/761733917170864/