Learning from the green machine

Dave Mathieson
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SPRINGHILL: In the future humans could very well share the planet with robots, so it was only fitting when a robot came to Springhill last Friday to teach kids about how to make the world a better place for all of us to live.
A Robot named Moby, who is shaped like a garbage can, sang songs with kids who gathered at the Springhill Public Library.
To the tune of, "are you sleeping, are you sleeping, brother John, brother John" Moby got the kids to sing, "Reduce, reuse, recycle, Reduce, reuse, recycle, It's a better way, it's a better way. Because we love our planet, because we love our planet, we do it every day, we do it every day."
Moby imparted nifty little tidbits of information to the kids such as how library books can be withdrawn 100 times before they are too worn to use any further.
He also told the kids that 55 million plastic grocery bags are produced each week in Canada and how using re-usable grocery bags could put a huge dent in that number.
Lowden Ashley of Resource Recovery Fund Board of Nova Scotia brought Moby to 112 elementary schools last year and introduced Moby to approximately 20,000 children.
Ashley said kids often go shopping with their parents and they end up making many consumer choices for their parents.
"Kids can remind their parents to bring their re-usable bags shopping with them and they can help parents pick out items with less packaging," Ashley said.
Moby also helped show the kids how, instead of using brown paper lunch bags, they could make lunch bags from disposable juice boxes and they were shown how to make a belt from pop can tabs.
Moby told the kids that things have gotten better in that 20 years ago Canadians recycled almost nothing, they threw everything from paint to paper to battery's into the same junk pile but now we don't do that anymore.
The children were also warned against littering and sang a song to that effect.
Ashley turned 71 years old on the day of the presentation at the library.
He has been bringing Moby to schools, parades and day camps for six years now.
"In the six years I've been doing this people are more aware of recycling and we do recycle more than we used to, about 50 per cent of our waste is recycled, but the amount of waste we produce has also gone way up," Ashley said.
After the presentation Ashley said kids are our future and it's important to get them thinking about the environment at a young age.
"What bothers me is that we are wasting our resources," Ashley said. "Plastic comes from petroleum and just look at our petroleum prices."
He added that it's a lot more efficient to recycle than it is to produce products from raw materials.
"If we recycle one ton of paper we end up saving 17 trees," Ashley said. "And by recycling just one pop can we save enough energy to run our TV for three hours.
"It's a lot cheaper to recycle than it is to use our raw materials, plus we're not depleting our raw materials when we recycle," Ashley said.
At the end of the Moby's presentation kids attended a workshop teaching them how to reduce, re-use and recycle.
Moby visits schools and attends events across the province free of charge.

Organizations: Springhill Public Library, Resource Recovery Fund Board of Nova Scotia

Geographic location: Canada

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