Making a difference in my community has always been something that I have been passionate about, which was apparent to my friends and family as early as the third grade when I ran for Student Council. Although I was merely the Class Representative at the time, running and winning the title gave me the confidence to run for Vice President only one year later – in the fourth grade! Did I win? No. Did it matter? Not really. But if you had asked my nine-year-old self that at the time, I would have had a much different answer for you!
I was definitely bummed that I didn't win the race, but as the year went on I learned that even if I didn't earn a fancy title like Vice President of Student Council I could still make a difference in my classroom and school as the Class Representative, or just a concerned student!
Throughout the rest of my life, I took this lesson learned in childhood and ran with it.
Soon after committing to restarting my blog, I stumbled upon a call to action from Tucson Clean and Beautiful, a local organization dedicated to preserving and improving our environment, asking for volunteers on an upcoming project called The Last Plastic Straw.
What is The Last Plastic Straw, you ask? I'm so happy you asked!
The Last Plastic Straw is an initiative that seeks to activate citizens through grassroots campaigning to encourage individuals to push for change in restaurant protocol and practices in their local area. It allows for those concerned with plastic pollution to mobilize within their communities to limit and ultimately eliminate the use of plastic straws in the restaurant industry.
Now you may be asking, why straws? They're so small, do they really create that much of a problem?
Plastic straws are of no real value or significance to most able bodied people, but they contribute massively to the plastic pollution problem in our oceans, waterways and beaches. In fact, one estimate suggests 500 million straws are used every day in just the United States alone . Another study published in 2018 estimates as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the world's oceans . In the larger scheme of things, plastic straws only contribute to 0.025% of the eight million tons of plastic that flow into our waters – but that is no reason to discount them !
8.3 billion straws is still 8.3 billion more straws that should be polluting our oceans, period.
By becoming aware of the issue yourself, and sharing your efforts in making the simple switch to reusable straws or plastic straw alternatives, you can bring about wider behavior change and reduce the amount of single-use plastic damaging our planet.
I am happy to say that I have made the commitment to #noplasticstraws, and used my last plastic straw on June 15, 2019.
Since giving up single-use plastic straws, I have been using a reusable silicone alternative, as well as a stainless steel straw from a local zero waste shop called ZippNada.
And let me tell you, not a day goes by that I miss plastic straws.
Keep an eye out for future posts with updates on The Last Plastic Straw Tucson, and the impact we are making in our community with the "straws upon request" movement!
Love & Light,