Always recycle, like the smart kids do.

 teach your child to recycleTake four minutes to get smart about what happens when you fail to recycle plastics. Emphasis intended on the word “fail” because you know better than to toss the stuff in with regular trash. You also know what a plastic ocean gyre is.  And you’ve seen the stomach-turning photo of that turtle whose adult shell grew around the plastic six-pack wrapper that entangled him as a pup. Just four minutes with a pleasant-sounding narrator provides a gentle push to clean up your act. Think of it as your contribution to a bit of global spring cleaning.

Better yet, show the video to the shortest people in your life to teach them the facts, which was the intent behind this video created by Emma Bryce for TED-Ed, the TED-ex affiliate custom made for young students.

In a modern riff on the three bears (or three little pigs), the plot traces the life cycles of three different plastic bottles. One ends up in a landfill, another in our oceans, and the happiest bottle lives on forever in a recycling loop. Check out the video below.

Here in Jordan there is a fourth, more common afterlife for plastic bottles.  Most people in Amman seem afflicted with a strange and consistent loss of fine motor control as soon as they take that last sip, dropping the bottle wherever they happen to be. I mention Amman as it’s where I live, I see this shocking malady firsthand. The disease is an equal-opportunity affliction, striking men, women, and children on a daily basis.  I understand that cases are showing up across the Middle East, less so in major Gulf cities where the infected are threatened with steep littering fines.

Bryce is a young educator who has crafted over a dozen videos for the TED-Ed platform on topics ranging from how specific body parts function to an exploration of the vanishing honeybee.  TED-Ed is a service designed to capture and amplify the voice of the world’s greatest teachers. For a complete rundown of TED-Ed, see the video below.

Know an extraordinary educator with a green message to share? Nominate them on the TED-Ed website (link here) for an opportunity to partner with talented animators to produce a new library of curiosity-igniting videos. In addition to hosting the videos, TED-Ed works with teachers to review lessons and edit them into a less-than-10 minute format.

Lessons worth sharing, indeed.

Image of plastic pollution from Shutterstock

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