Vamos a la playa, a mí me gusta……¿bailar? ¿nadar? ¿tomar el sol? ¿LIMPIAR? My students love to talk about (and sing about) the beach. But no one likes to see the trash that washes up on shore. This September 2012 the Ocean Conservancy will sponsor the 27th annual Día Internacional de Limpieza de las Playas. What better way to help students connect with people and places across the globe and reflect on our personal responsibility to care for our shared natural resources. After all, the oceans belong to everyone.
Where does it come from? Trash on the beach tends to be on the move: wind and waves sweep some garbage away and leave behind more. You may also have heard of the garbage patches in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans (aka islas de basura). It’s been estimated that a striking 60-80% of ocean debris (desperdicios marinos) originates on land. That means it potentially comes from you, me, our neighbors and friends. (And yes, if you clicked on the Ocean Conservancy’s link above, I do find it ironic–at best–that Coca-Cola, which is responsible for the generation of millions upon millions of plastic bottles every year, helps sponsor the clean-up.)
Todos juntos haremos una diferencia. Below are Spanish-language resources and activities, as well as readings, reports and videos highlighting the efforts of young people in Puerto Rico, Ecuador and Chile to document and clean-up the trash on their coast lines and beaches. If there’s a beach or a river near you, you and your students can participate, too. If you’re in New Jersey, check out the Beach Sweeps to be held on October 20th.
Puerto Rico’s Scuba Dogs Society created an imaginative campaign Elimina el Pez Basura with downloadable folletos educativos, mini-posters and other visual materials.
Here’s 10 cosas que puedes hacer para salvar los océanos from National Geographic (en español).
Equilibrio Azul supports and helps organize the beach clean-up in Ecuador.
La Armada de Chile takes the lead in organizing the day (to be held this year on September 28th) up and down the long Chilean coast. Their web site includes photos and data collected by the many student group participants, as well as articles, maps and facts.
Another excellent resource from Chile is the student-oriented Científicos de la Basura. Among other activities, you can download children’s stories such as Bolsas Plas y Tika: una historia real that tells the tale of two plastic bag hermanas, including one that is blown out to sea.
En la sala de clase. Communicative activities: Students can use the above resources to research and present the issue; journal about their experiences; write Spanish captions for “before and after” photos; compare and contrast experiences/geography/trash found; survey others and create graphs about the use and destination of plastics in their own school or community; respond to stories by writing letters or sending e-mails; evaluate web sites and articles; create their own campaign materials; write stories, songs or poems; role-play; debate reduce, reuse, recycle or not. Grammar and verb points: descriptions (present tense), where did it come from/how far did it travel, what happened during clean-up day (preterit/imperfect tenses), what will happen if people reduce/don’t reduce trash (ir + a + infinitive or future tense/”si” clauses/conditional, imperfect subjunctive), recommendations (imperative, present subjunctive mood)