Mālama Maui Nui launched a new Youth Education program in March 2014 to teach proper waste management behaviors and build sustainable habits early in Maui’s youth. While these are lessons we wish people of all ages to learn and adopt, reaching out to youth specifically serves the purpose of encouraging these habits to become second-nature. People do as they see others do, and so we hope that by teaching youth, these lessons will extend to their friends and family until it becomes part of our collective social norm. Sustainability has always been part of life on the Hawaiian islands, and we want to make sure the trend strengthens and continues!
Over the course of the spring in 2014, MMN held twelve youth education presentations that included a hands-on art project a la Art of Trash to demonstrate how items commonly perceived as trash can be rediscovered as elements of a beautiful, useful, and fun piece of art. Through reuse and repurposing, students found how they can disrupt our one-time-use-only culture and reduce their waste while also creating something new for themselves.
For 2015, youth education is diving further into litter prevention through classroom presentations featuring a group activity so that students may realize the impact the tiniest piece of litter can have on our unique island environment. Presentations are adapted appropriately depending on grade level, ranging from fourth grade through high school.