Animation Guide for Educators


Buddhism Series

Episode 6 :
Life of Bottle

Recognizing that faith leaders have been a driving force behind some of the most important and successful environmental movements, WWF-Malaysia partnered with Soka Gakkai Malaysia to produce an animation series called When We’re Friends (WWF) with Nature. Inspired by the teachings of Buddhism, the faith based animation series carries the message of, ‘It starts with one’ and uses the ‘Learn, Reflect, Empower’ approach which is aligned to WWF-Malaysia’s Education for Sustainable Development’s objective.

Think & put your brain to work!

Dig Deeper

What Goes Around Comes Around

A good action or intent creates good karma, while a bad action or intent creates bad karma. Karma refers to the actions driven by intention, a deed done deliberately through body, speech or mind, which leads to future consequences. For instance, in the animation, the irresponsible attitude of humans causes marine pollution, which leads to humans' health problems. Karma is not an external force, not a system of punishment or reward dealt out by a god. It is a natural law similar to gravity. Buddhists believe that we are in control of our ultimate fates. Hence, we should always be kind to everyone including our environment to avoid suffering.

We Are Responsible For Our Action

Since we are creating the conditions ourselves through our actions, we can not shirk the responsibility to anyone else. We are personally responsible for our actions, and we cannot undo the outcome of our completed actions. One can overcome suffering through growing insight and wholesome behavior. Buddha can only provide us with advice, and we have to take complete personal responsibility. In Buddha's teachings, nobody including god will serve as the cause or aim for our actions. We should always remind ourselves that wholesome actions can change us and the world in a wholesome direction.

How Litters End Up in the Ocean

Even if you live hundreds of miles from the coast, the plastic you throw away could make its way into the sea. Once in the ocean, plastic decomposes very slowly, breaking down into tiny pieces known as microplastics that can be incredibly damaging to sea life. 80% of plastic in our oceans is from land sources, and there are three main ways the plastic we use every day ends up in the oceans. Firstly, when we transport our rubbish into the landfill, plastic is often blown away because it’s so lightweight. From there, it can eventually clutter around drains and enter rivers and the sea this way.


Also, litter dropped on the street doesn’t stay there. Rainwater and wind carry plastic waste into streams and rivers through drains. Drains lead to the ocean! Besides these, we always flush the products we use daily in the toilets, including wet wipes, cotton buds, and sanitary products. Microfibres are even released into waterways when we wash our clothes in the washing machine. They are too small to be filtered out by wastewater plants and end up being consumed by small marine species, eventually even ending up in our food chain.


Whether we mean to litter or not, there's always a chance the plastic we throw away could make it into the sea, and from there who knows? Maybe as far as the Arctic. Huge changes start with small steps, and everyone has the power to make a difference. What will you do to start cutting the plastic in your life?


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Plastic and Plastic Pollution

Plastic is everywhere. It has only really existed for the last 60-70 years, but in that time plastic has transformed everything from packaging to product design and retailing. One of the advantages of plastic is that it is designed to last, but this same blessing is a curse as nearly all the plastic ever created still exists in some form today. Alarmingly, up to 130,000 tonnes of that plastic will wind up in the ocean as plastic pollution each year. Plastics can take hundreds of years to break down. The energy use in the production and transportation of plastic bottles could fuel an estimated 1.5 million cars for a year, yet approximately 75% of them are not recycled and end up in landfills, litter roadsides, and pollute waterways and oceans.


Plastic pollution is everywhere, from Atlantic beaches to Arctic sea ice to huge swirling vortexes of trash in the Pacific Ocean. And you can find it in every shape and size, from microscopic particles to whole refrigerators full of plastic parts. But plastic itself isn’t the enemy. It’s the way we handle it that needs to change. Ocean plastic has harmed hundreds of species in a variety of ways, such as entanglement old fishing nets or six-pack rings, choking bottle caps, straws, plastic bags and blocking their digestive tracts. Also, as microscopic particles on the seafloor interfere with how ecosystems function, it causes habitat degradation. 8.8 million tons is the amount of plastic that enters the ocean every year. That’s the same as a garbage truck dumping a full load of trash into the sea every minute.


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Recycling vs Upcycling

Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Recycling helps in reducing the amount of waste that sent to the landfills and incinerators, it also conserves natural resources and prevents pollution. We can recycle glass bottles, plastic, paper, and electronic wastes. Recycling can benefit our community and the environment.


Upcycling is different from recycling. It is known as the process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful. For instance, stretching out a wire clothes hanger then tying strips of a plastic bag around it to make a wreath. Recycling takes consumer materials like plastic, paper, metal, and glass, and breaks them down so that their base materials can be used to produce a new consumer product, often of lesser quality. When we upcycle an item, we aren’t breaking down the materials. We use the same materials and refashion it, like cutting a t-shirt into strips of yarn.


Also, the upcycled item is typically better or the same quality as the original. Upcycling is simple, and it makes a positive impact on the environment. When we upcycle, we remove items from the global garbage stream. Recycling requires energy or water to break down materials while upcycling only requires our creativity and elbow grease.

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Prompt your audiences


  1. Why should we responsible for our action?

  2. Why humans pollute the ocean?

  3. Why are the litters end up in the ocean?



  1. How should we be responsible for our action?

  2. How plastic pollution affects our health?

  3. How should we dispose our daily waste?



  1. What Buddha taught us about Karma?

  2. What are the consequences of throwing a plastic bottle into the drain?

  3. What are the things that we can recycle or upcycle?

Activities you may want to try


Discussion 1


The Life of Plastic Bottle


To discuss and raise awareness about plastic pollution.


Divide 4-5 students in a group and ask them to discuss and present the life of a plastic bottle.

Materials Needed:

Mahjong paper, marker pens

Expected Outcomes: 

Students will be able to draw and explain about plastic pollution.


Discussion 2


Your Dream Ocean


To discuss and raise awareness about marine pollution.


Divide 4-5 students in a group and ask them to discuss and draw out their dream ocean. Then, compare the drawing with the image of the polluted sea in present days.

Materials Needed:

Mahjong paper, marker pens, image of the polluted sea

Expected Outcomes: 

Students will be able to draw and compare their dream ocean with the polluted sea, then learn more about marine pollution.


Games 1


It Can Be Deadly


To experience and consider the effects of plastic debris in the oceans and on the beaches from an animal's perspective.


Use a volunteer to demonstrate. Put a rubber band around the back of his/her hand, catching the thumb and the little finger. Ask the student to remove the rubber band without using the other hand or teeth, or rubbing it against something. Hand out the rubber bands for everybody to try. Then, tell everyone to pretend their hand and arm is a bird entangled in plastic. For example, the hand is its head, the fingers its beak, and the forearm its neck. Cup elbow with fre hand. Place the rubber band around the beak or neck and only allow the students to free themselves within 30 seconds.

After the game, discuss the questions below:
1. What plastic or other material could the rubber band represent in a natural setting (fishing line, plastic, six-pack rings, fishing nets, packing straps)?
2. How could an animal get into a situation in which fishing line, strapping bands, six-pack rings, or a net would entangle it?

Materials Needed:

Rubber bands

Expected Outcomes: 

Students will be able to understand the effects of plastic debris in the oceans and on the beaches towards the marine animals.

Working Group.PNG

Work Group 1


Marine Pollution


To raise awareness about marine pollution.


Divide 4-5 students in a group and distribute the materials to each group. Then, ask them to set up their mini ocean with clean water. Next, add some rubbish and black food colouring to represent oil or sewage in the ocean. Try to explain how the mini ocean look after the pollution has been added. Lastly, talk about how litter and pollution might impact fish and other marine life and where we had seen litter recently.

Materials Needed:

A clear bowl or vase, plastic fish, black food colouring, litter, shells or sand, water

Expected Outcomes: 

Students will be able to demonstrate a polluted ocean and explain how litter and pollution impact marine life.

Working Group.PNG

Work Group 2


Searching Out Storm Drains


To understand that storm drains are connected to water systems and can become a significant source of marine debris.


Take your class on a walk around the school to identify and locate the storm drains with your students. Then, ask the students to give their descriptions of what storm drains are designed to do. Pose questions that will help them formulate ideas on the function of storm drains and help them understand the connection that exists between storm drains and streams, rivers, etc. After that, observe if there's any litter near the storm drain that you and your students have located. Lead your students to consider how the trash got there and what would happen to it over time, especially if it rained.

Materials Needed:


Expected Outcomes: 

Students will be able to locate the storm drains near the school and observe if there's any litter nearby.


Please start your discussion related to the animation series at the comments below. Do share with us your ideas or suggestions to make the teaching experience even better & for all to try it!

Try our other episodes!

Episode 2:

Life of Long Bean

Episode 4:

Life of Water

Episode 5:

Life of Mother