Some 400 Primary Five students at Nanyang Primary School had a different sort of assembly on the 23rd July 2012, Monday. This was during Green Week 2012 and a special time in the year where teachers could arrange for guest speakers.
I was all setup with five minutes to go and the primary five students streamed in to the assembly hall for an ICCS talk on local marine biodiversity, threats and how each person can make a difference.
Throughout the talk, there was a healthy level of response from the students. Many were fascinated by photos of marine organisms that could be found on our shores. The group was also mesmerised by the video of the baby turtles scrambling out to sea and the wrestling monitor lizards in our mangroves!
I was bombarded with questions from the floor about each of the animals that I talked about. and on cue, before I talked about the threat of ghost nets killing our precious horseshoe crabss in the mudflats, one of the students walked up to me to ask,” Why do you need a pair of scissors when you are inside the mangrove?” .
During the section about threats to marine life, I showed them Chris Jordan’s Midway Trailer Which has great impact in conveying the severity of man’s impact.
At this point, some students hid their plastic bottles -these had bottle caps similar to the ones found in the bodies of the dead young albatrosses! GReat awareness that an innocent item in the wrong place can be harmful to the planet.
During the more sober atmosphere which followed the trailer, I ended as usual with some suggestions about simple ways in which we can reduce our use of single-use plastics, and by now, the familiar 3Rs had a greater significance – and everyone can make a difference!
It is always heartening when we can go down to talk to students about Singapore’s marine biodiversity and the threats ecosystems and animals face here and elsewhere. With awareness, students can be motivated to make a difference to the planet.