July 2019

Humour and heavy metal combine for hard-hitting message on the war on plastic

In recent years, an increasing awareness of the damage plastic waste has on our oceans and the wider environment has been at the forefront of public consciousness.

With a greater number of companies, governments and individuals now actively fighting the war on plastic, the battle to reduce such waste is gaining global momentum.

With education being a key part of the campaign, Year 10 students at Withernsea High School recently benefited from a talk by Tom Hird – a leading marine biologist who spoke to students about the devastating impact plastic waste has on the world’s oceans.

Also in the audience were eight pupils from Withernsea Primary School, who all recently took part in a beach clean project as part of their Lifestyle commitment, plus committee members from Withernsea’s Big Local who generously helped to fund the event.
Affectionately known by his stage-name ‘The Blowfish’, and his reputation as the world’s only heavy metal marine biologist, Mr Hird delivered a unique and engaging presentation which combined hard facts with humour and heavy metal music.

During the presentation, Mr Hird also spoke of his conservation work and his recent appointment as an ambassador for the South African Shark Conservancy – a team aiming to push the boundaries of shark science in South Africa and beyond.

Student Abigail Wilbraham commented: ‘Hearing about the effect plastic has on the environment, from someone with first-hand experience of seeing the damage it causes, made us all aware of how bad our planet is getting and how we need to change our actions to improve the situation.'

Dr Emma Finer, Progress Leader for Key Stage 4, arranged for ‘The Blowfish’ to visit Withernsea High School. Dr Finer commented: ‘I have been lucky enough to hear Tom talk at other events. He is passionate about his subject whilst presenting it in an interesting way. I have never enjoyed a Science talk so much and I am delighted we were able to share this experience with our students. I feel they will have really benefited from hearing from a biologist who is so passionate and knowledgeable. Finally, I would like to thank both Tom and Withernsea’s Big Local for making the event possible.’

Mr Hird added: ‘I enjoyed a superb morning getting far too over-excited about marine biology at Withernsea High School. The students were great and seemed to really enjoy a slightly different take on the underwater world, with a small slice of heavy metal thrown in too! As a conservationist, it is crucial that we are able to speak to young people who often just aren’t aware of the ecological issues they are facing in their future. Having an opportunity to speak to them; getting them excited and involved in making a difference, is a total win.'

ABOVE: Radio and TV Presenter, Marine Biologist and Rock Musician Tom 'The Blowfish' Hird launched in to a blistering bass solo at the start of his talk at Withernsea High School on Monday 15th July.

ABOVE: Year 10 students Zach Hunt, Robert Maslin-Ross and Abigail Wilbraham with Tom Hird and Dr Emma Finer.


ABOVE: 'The Blowfish' and Dr Finer with members of Withernsea's Big Local committee who helped to fund and facilitate the event.


Related links

Find out more about 'The Blowfish' and the work he does on his official website.

Official website of the Withernsea Big Local committee.