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Education is a Solution to Pollution

June 8, 2017

Education is a Solution to Pollution

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Olivia Ries Olivia Ries

Shortly after my brother and I started our nonprofit One More Generation (OMG), the Gulf oil spill happened in 2010. I remember the first image I saw in the news was of a large sea turtle being pulled out of the Gulf. It was caked in oil. It was not alive.

We knew we had to act.

We spent months collecting much needed animal rescue supplies and then drove 11 1/2 hours to the Gulf of Mexico to help out. It was there we learned that environmental threats such as oil spills, and even worse, plastic pollution, are major contributors to the demise of wildlife around the world (above, a sea turtle recovering from ingesting oil.)

We educated ourselves on issues related to plastic pollution so we could inform others. We hired two teachers and a retired principal and created our award-winning Plastic and Recycling Awareness Curriculum written to match the latest national standards for science education. The program is now available to schools nationwide and is being tested in the UK and Australia.

We realized early on that education is the key to affecting change in the world. We hope our curriculum will teach the next generation of leaders how to be the solution to issues like plastic pollution.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Olivia and Carter Ries are speaking as youth against ocean pollution at the United Nations Oceans Conference on World Oceans Day. Reduce your use. Take the WCS 30-day plastics challenge.

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