Blog: Take 3

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Australian children are learning a simple and effective way to clean up pollution — predominantly plastics  from shorelines around the continent.

Over 100,000 students have embraced the Take 3 message, which is to take three pieces of trash away from the beach or waterway edges when they leave for home.

In 2009, several ocean lovers began collecting plastic pollution off their favorite beach called The Entrance along the central coast of New South Wales. Eight years later, students from that region were keen to clean the same beach. The Entrance receives water from the Tuggerah Lakes, which empties into the Pacific Ocean.

In just one day, 160 students from two campuses in the Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College collected 44 pounds of trash, including 3,700 cigarette butts and hundreds of large pieces of plastics, including bottles and straws, and they prevented 23 batteries containing mercury poisoning from entering the ocean.

Getting students from classrooms on to beaches, lake shores and stream-sides and performing meaningful conservation-in-action is working because they are discovering first-hand the importance of healthy ecosystems and how each of them can make a difference.

In turn, those 100,000 students take that message of protecting our planet. It’s helping parents change their habits and refuse plastics.

The #Take3ForTheSea message is becoming part of Australian lives. Students and parents understand that what we do to the oceans and its beaches, stream-sides and lake shores with climate-altering, petroleum-based plastics, we do to ourselves.

It is so encouraging to see children across Australia helping to heal our planet and encourage other children from around the globe to follow them.

Loving nature is the solution.

Earth Dr. Reese Halter is the author of “Shepherding the Sea: The Race to Save Our Oceans.”