Story writing can help children to rethink their response to environmental challenges and focus more on their role in preventing them, a new study has found.
An international team of researchers used a writing activity to explore schoolchildren’s perceptions of marine litter and how they are responding to the increasing global problem.
The children were encouraged to use their imaginations about common litter items found on the beach and in the marine environment, which included toys, plastic bags, toothbrushes, bottles, and straws.
They were also asked to write a story or comic book and to consider how the items came to be in the ocean, enabling them to think about ways of preventing the litter from entering the environment.
The activity showed that after taking part in the writing activity, children mostly focused on preventing the problem from worsening, rather than cleaning up existing litter, with the most popular solution being adequate disposal of litter and recycling.
Other solutions included reducing plastic use, reusing items, education, and convincing the community of the importance of the issue.
The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Plymouth, University of York, and Galapagos Conservation Trust, as well as various academic and community partners in Chile and Mexico.