What if there were no trash or recycling services to help us deal with our waste? This week everyone brainstormed what their home and school would look like if we all just dropped our trash right where we stood. We imagined the piles that would accumulate and how we’d have to pick our way through. This was exactly the situation in Gambia when our latest Earth hero, Isatou Ceesay, came up with a solution. In Gambia, women threw their family’s trash behind their homes and everyone just dropped plastic bags and waste on the ground without a second thought because there was nowhere else to put it. Not only was it an ugly place to live, but it was also dangerous for people and animals. Plastic bags caused some of the biggest problems. Goats that families relied on for their well-being would eat the bags and die. Then we read One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of Gambia. After three of her grandmothers goats died from swallowing bags, Ceesay started to pick up the plastic bags, wash them and turn them into purses. To do this, they made plarn (plastic yarn) out of the bags and crocheted the plarn into purses, jewelry and more items that could be sold to benefit the women who made them. Today, 11,000 people are involved in this effort to greatly reduce plastic waste. However, we did talk about how the best solution is to stop making single use plastic since even the purses and other items will eventually be thrown away and the plastic will be around for a very long time..We wrote a paragraph about Ceesay’s endeavors and we also drew a portrait of her inside a cute frame. This time we drew a profile and learned a few new drawing skills. Next week, we will make some things out of plastic bags.In addition to learning about Isatou Ceesay, we also went into more depth concerning greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect. We looked more closely at each one of the four greenhouse gases that we are studying to determine how each one is contributing to the greenhouse effect. We also discussed combustion and how burning wood or coal or gasoline causes the element of oxygen,carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen to morph into greenhouse gases. We viewed lots of graphs on how the concentrations of greenhouse gases have been steadily increasing and how the world’s oceans are warming as well.
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