September 13, 2023

4 Min Read
ocean plastic

SAN FRANCISCO and FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Brightmark, a circular innovation company with a mission to Reimagine Waste, and Guy Harvey Foundation ("GHF"), a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the marine environment, announced a multimedia marine science curriculum called "Changing the Tide," launching in elementary schools reaching 30,000 students across 1,250 classrooms. Brightmark, together with GHF, authored the Plastic Pollution, Plastic Solution unit, a week-long lesson plan that addresses a range of age-appropriate topics, from identifying different types of plastic and their corresponding life cycles to understanding different recycling processes.  

K-5 students will explore the role of plastic as a ubiquitous material in our daily lives while also examining the waste hierarchy and ways our current disposal and waste processing can negatively impact ocean health. Additionally, they will investigate the latest circular technologies used to convert plastic waste into high-value materials, promoting the circular economy. The goal of these studies is to encourage students to think more holistically about plastics and how we can reduce their environmental footprint. To support this, students at each grade level will create a collective art project that will culminate into a school-wide coral reef art installation using plastic objects gathered during ocean clean-ups. 

This comes at a pivotal time as the global plastic waste crisis continues to grow in scale. It is predicted that without concerted intervention, the annual flow of plastic into the ocean will nearly triple by 2040. The "Changing the Tide" curriculum is intended to inspire the next generation of environmentalists, particularly those living near coastlines and waterways directly impacted by plastic pollution.

"Brightmark is thrilled to partner with the Guy Harvey Foundation on the development of a plastics awareness curriculum for a younger generation of students that educates and promotes the need for more sustainable solutions to improve the health of our oceans," said Bob Powell, Brightmark, founder and chief executive officer. "This educational material addresses the challenges and the opportunities to address the global plastic crisis and gives relevant, actionable tools young people can adopt to make a difference in their communities." 

This year, the curriculum launch will accompany a "Changing the Tide" bi-coastal community cleanup day of action on September 14, led by fourth-grade students at two partnering schools: Florida's Guy Harvey Academy of Arts & Science at Anna Maria Elementary and California's Healdsburg Elementary. This event will provide an on-the-ground, immersive experience for students to understand the direct impact of plastic pollution in their local communities.  

"We are inspired by the continued positive response to the education around these vital topics that ensure a sustained focus on protecting marine life," said Jessica Harvey, CEO of the Guy Harvey Foundation. "Our partnership with Brightmark creates a pathway for the next generation to take demonstrative action for the health of the planet as they envision it. We are excited to continue to roll out our curriculum across the country and globally to engage, educate, and inspire as many students as possible." 

The roll-out of the K-5 curriculum comes on the heels of the successful launch of the high-school Marine Science 101 Curriculum in 2021, which has reached nearly 38,000 students across the world to date (available for download on the Brightmark website), which is currently being translated into Spanish to reach an international audience.  

About Brightmark:  
Brightmark, LLC is a circular innovation company with a mission to Reimagine Waste, developing solutions that make a positive environmental impact on the world and communities where it operates. Brightmark's established anaerobic digestion and proprietary plastics renewal technologies make the company a veteran in a burgeoning marketplace. The company works across sectors, including agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation to decarbonize operations, displace reliance on virgin fossil fuels, and solve circularity challenges at scale. 

Committed to systems change in waste, Brightmark works collaboratively to address gaps where traditional methods fall short through its innovative closed-loop approach to recycling and renewables. To date, Brightmark has repurposed four million pounds of landfill-bound plastics and reduced more than 600,000 tons of CO2eq from the atmosphere through anaerobic digestion. The company is also deeply committed to conservation, education, and sustainability career training by partnering with local and national organizations that help protect land and oceans. For more information, visit www.brightmark.com

About the Guy Harvey Foundation:
With a focused mission to better understand and conserve the ocean environment, the Guy Harvey Foundation (GHF) collaborates with local, national and international organizations to conduct scientific research and provides funding to affiliated researchers who share this objective. The GHF also develops and hosts cutting-edge educational programs that help educators to foster the next era of marine conservationists, ensuring that future generations can enjoy and benefit from a properly balanced ocean ecosystem. For more information, visit www.GuyHarveyFoundation.org. Follow the GHF on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GuyHarveyOcean, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GuyHarveyOcean, or connect on Instagram at www.instagram.com/GuyHarveyOcean.

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