By Rhiannon (age 13)
This report goes supports what is written by Rhiannon in ‘Wild Things’ Issue 140 (Spring 2018).
Plastic forks, plastic straws, packaging and especially plastic bags. Plastic is made from oil which is a fossil fuel and one day it will run out. I learned at the conference in June that in 2025 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, and already around Henderson Island, one piece of plastic washes up every 23 seconds.
Another fact I didn’t know before I went to the conference was that New Zealand used to send our plastic milk bottles to China for recycling, but now China has stopped accepting used plastic, so it is piling up here in New Zealand. I thought I was helping recycling by putting my plastic bottles into the recycle bin, now I know I have to actually stop using plastics. This is why children need to go to this kind of conference too. Not just adults. The generation before me has helped create the problem of polystyrene and plastic rubbish and now myself and all the children in the world are needing to fix this problem. Countdown organised the conference, and they have vowed that by 2025, they will have stopped selling anything plastic.
The mayor of Auckland was also at the conference and he told us how Auckland has recently opened Daisy apartments in the City Centre. There are only 2 car parks available but lots of room for bicycles to encourage people to use transportation that doesn’t use fossil fuels or to car pool instead. It has achieved 10 green stars. He also said that by 2025 he wants only electric vehicles in the city centre. Most of you who live in Auckland have probably seen the Auckland Harbour Bridge all lit up at night. Except for the car lights, the bridge is completely solar powered. This is what we should be aiming for all over the world.
What can children do?
Choose products that are not packaged in polystyrene or plastic.
Only buy things you actually need or you know you will play with for a long time. Because we are throwing away stuff and then buying new stuff.
If you are offered a plastic straw at a food place, politely decline it or ask for a metal straw or even an ice straw!!!! How cool. Even a paper straw is ok as it’s recyclable and trees are grown to replace the fallen trees.
Try not to use plastic cutlery. It takes ages to collect all the materials to make a plastic fork, then it has to be shipped to a company to be made into the object, and then shipped back again to be sold in a shop. All of that transport is oil, plus the actual oil put into plastics…just for a child to use a plastic fork for 10 minutes and then thrown away so there are no dishes.
I am happy I had the opportunity to go to this amazing conference where I heard so many great opinions and ideas about how New Zealand is planning to embrace a cleaner and greener future for me and every other child. Today’s young leaders need to be heading in the right direction so our future remains bright.