The Arts of The Albemarle gallery in downtown Elizabeth City is exhibiting multi-media artwork around themes of pollution and climate change that was designed and constructed by sixth-grade students from the Northeast Academy of Aerospace and Advanced Technologies.

Students incorporated plastic bottles, cardboard and similar items into projects that portrayed environmental damage.

And during a program at AoA Thursday, Nov. 21, some of the students were on hand to explain the ideas behind their pieces and talk about some of the ways to slow or reverse pollution and climate change.

Emily Gray explained that “The World We See Today” is intended to show how the earth has changed over the past two decades.

A shoebox is set in the middle of the piece to represent a bridge from the past to the present, and the sides of the bridge show the world of 20 years ago and the world today.

Darker colors are one of the main ways the students sought to show the increased amount of pollution in the world compared with 20 years ago.

Gray said her work group, which also included Kyleigh Cartwright, Maddox May and Makayla Williams, initially discussed building a spherical globe but chose instead to go with a two-dimensional representation.

Materials they used included cardboard, plastic bottles, a roofing shingle students found, glass, glue and paint.

The students also have learned about ways to reduce pollution and carbon emissions.

“One of the very best things to do for beginners is to eat less meat,” Gray said.

Meat production is one of the main causes of deforestation in the Amazon rain forest, which in turn is hampering the earth’s ability to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, she said.

Cian Folsom and a group that also included William Carpenter, Jillian Maier, Mackenzie Beagle and Zion Hedgepeth built a project called “Factories and their Fuels.”

The piece draws attention to the role that factory emissions play in emitting carbon into the atmosphere.

One way to reduce carbon emissions from factories is to recycle and reuse items rather than always buying something new, Folsom said.

Matthew Hoffman and a group that included Connor Mawhiney, Mathis Grieve, Russell Conway Jr. and Bryson Frumkin designed “Trash on the Beaches,” which showed how plastics and other trash that get into the oceans often pile back up on the beach.

The piece showed oil stains on the ocean and depicted fish dying from ingesting plastics. And yes, there appeared to be a lot of trash on the beach.

“We should try to clean up all the mess we’ve made because we’ve made a huge mess,” Hoffman said.

Ways to reverse the negative trends include using reusable water bottles rather than buying plastic bottles of water; using battery-operated cars (though Hoffman noted that the production of electricity to charge the batteries can still contribute to warming ocean temperatures and threaten ocean life); using less plastic; reusing plastic products when you do buy them; and recycling.