Eleven-year-old Sam Atkin, also known as the Shark Scientist, traveled to the TEDxOilSpill conference in Washington, D.C. last week to hear people such as National Geographic Explorer-In-Residence Sylvia Earle speak about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. NGKids News Bites asked him some questions about the conference.
News Bites: What are you hoping to accomplish by attending the event?
Sam: When I try to figure out a solution to the gulf oil spill, one problem leads to another and I get overwhelmed. I know there are going to be a lot of scientists at the conference and I’m hoping to witness a solution in the making with my video camera. My goal is to understand the problem better and share what I learn in Shark Scientist Magazine [Sam's blog].
News Bites: What can kids to do help with the oil spill?
Sam: I think it would be dangerous for kids to work physically with the oil. We don’t have the judgment and skills of the adults to handle hazardous materials. However, kids in the area can learn about the problem and bring what they know to school. By doing reports and projects about the problem, they can interest friends who have not done the research but are still interested in knowing more. Since that work doesn’t depend on your location, it can be done by kids far and wide. I think the kids in the gulf states have an opportunity to lead the rest of us. [I saw a video] done by VAYLA-NO, they teach about hydrocarbons and hydrosulfide in oil. I didn’t know that. If I saw a blob of oil on the beach, I might play with it before I saw their video. Now I know to keep away. They may not be able to clean birds and stuff, but they made a video that educated me about the dangers of encountering oil at the beach. That’s pretty important to me.
Read more about Sam on Nat Geo News Watch.
Find out more about the oil spill on the GreenScene blog.