They had little idea at the time that their decision to create a moving drama around the story of the UAE turtle rehabilitation programme and the campaign to reduce plastic pollution in the world’s seas and oceans, would create special connections with other countries.
However almost six months after the closure of EXPO 2012, Korea, The Turtle continues to attract international audiences, win media awards and play a valuable role in persuading its audiences to think more deeply about the issues we face with regard to plastic pollution.
One of the latest developments in this unfolding narrative happened far from the UAE in Kobe, capital city of Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture in the Kansai region on Honshu island. With a population closely connected to the sea it is perhaps not surprising that its younger citizens display deep concern for the health of their marine environment.
A letter sent last month to the National Media Council from an English teacher at Kobe Suzurandai Senior High School expressed deep admiration for the UAE Pavilion in Yeosu, Korea and came with a special request for permission to use the film in a forthcoming lesson.
“I am writing about your wonderful film, ‘The Turtle’, which I first saw at the Yeosu Expo 2012. Congratulations on an amazing film that actually identified an enormous problem while proposing an achieveable solution – without any of the greenwashing that I saw in many other country’s efforts. It was a beautiful, moving film that really made an impression on me”, wrote Kylie Pindar who teaches at the school.
Recognising the important role that schools play in persuading young people to think more deeply about preserving marine life and reducing plastic pollution, the NMC promptly despatched DVDs containing the film to the Japanese school where plans were put in place to deliver a special lesson to 3rd year students.
Explaining to her students that several countries �greenwashed’ their presentations, implying that everything was being carried out in a sustainable fashion, Kylie tated that “the UAE was the exception”. Then she screened The Turtle and presented them with the hard-hitting facts and figures regarding plastic pollution and the harm that plastic does to many species of marine life, especially turtles.
Students who took the lesson were impressed by the film and by its strong message that is relevant throughout the world. Rio Kiyono told the NMC that “I hope people in Japan will use many more �eco-bags’. Maya Hashimoto wrote: “I was very impressed by this movie. I think Japan should follow the example of the UAE.” “We were particularly pleased to hear of this teaching initiative in Japan”, stated a spokesperson for the National Media Council. “We welcome all schools around the world to utilise this moving film for their environmental lessons and we congratulate all those involved in this imaginative initiative that is so much in line with our proposed theme for EXPO 2020, �Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. We live in a world where such connections can be a strong force for good and we can assure you that messages such as those received from Rio and Maya in Japan are greatly appreciated here in the UAE. They act as a strong encouragement to us to continue in our efforts to make our participation in World Expos play a truly constructive role in global development.” WAM/AM