TEACHER INSPIRES FUTURE ECO-PIONEERS

Just as famous Langport resident Walter Bagehot inspired genera- tions of political and economic thinkers, so one teacher at a Somerset school aims to inspire generations of eco-pioneers.

Huish Episcopi Academy textiles teacher Catherine Robertson this Spring screened Susan Beraza’s Bag It (2010) film to more than 250 pupils in Year 9 as part of a long-standing course in making canvas eco-bags.

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The eco-documentary highlights the pollution time bomb caused by disposable plastic carrier bags and warns of its catastrophic effect on the world’s oceans and marine life.

Mrs Robertson, from Bridgwater, contacted Transition Langport to show the film after the eco-group bought a copy to lend to inter- ested schools as part of its 2013 campaign to reduce single use carrier bags in the town.

She said: “The film makes a serious point in an entertaining way that connected the students’s work with the bigger picture.

“I’m pleased to report that the students are thinking more about what happens to their rubbish since seeing the film.”

Year 9 pupil Jess Mills, 13, from Charlton Mackrell, said: “The pollution in the oceans was horrible. We must not let plastic bags kill seabirds and turtles.”

Classmate Jacob Hughes, 14, from Curry Mallet, said: “Plastic bags are rubbish! My friends and I take our sports kit to P.E. in cloth bags.”

1Carenza Turner, 13, Long Sutton, said: “The film made me aware of how much plastic we use everyday. We’re surrounded by it! If I could, I’d make plastic go away tomorrow.”

Mrs Robertson plans to continue showing Bag It to successive Year 9 students. She also intends to build the film into Year 10’s design technology curriculum.

“In Year 10, we make a bag from recycled materials so I hope the film will strike a chord there, too,” she said.

Transition Langport’s Norma Watkins said: “Mrs Robertson is a beacon of hope. She is inspiring young people at a grassroots level to tackle a worldwide issue that effects us all.”

Last month, Transition’s campaign to reduce single use plastic carrier bags in Langport received a boost when a survey showed that more than 90 per cent of shoppers wanted a plastic bag-free town.

The survey result came as Northern Ireland joined Wales and the Republic of Ireland in introducing a plastic bag charge in re- tail outlets.

A survey of Langport retailers is in the pipeline, with Transi- tion hoping it can persuade most to offer customers cost effec- tive alternatives to a plastic bag.

Meantime, the new plastic bag recycling point outside Langport’s Tesco supermarket has already removed several tons of unwanted bags since it arrived in February.

If you would like your school to show Bag It, or want more in- formation about forthcoming Transition Langport events to reduce plastic bags, please email [email protected]

 

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