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News and Media

News and Media

Maggie and the Be Straw Free ProjectMany of us are familiar with Margaret Mead's quote, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Often it really is an individual who acts on a cause and inspires change in others!

In this case, the change agent is 8-year-old Maggie. During her 7th year, she learned that plastic drinking straws are one of the top ten kinds of ocean pollution, and she decided to take action! Her inspiration was Milo Cress who, at age 9 in 2011, had kicked off his Be Straw Free Campaign and has travelled widely sharing his message.

Maggie and her mom, Sarah Swift, have long been supporters of ODA and ocean conservation, and they wanted to make a difference for the salty ones. After some thought about how they could make an impact in their community, they approached their favorite local restaurant (Rosebud's Café in Jackson, CA), and gave them a presentation about the impact of using plastic "single use" straws.

Among other things, they shared the following facts:news cup and straw

  • The US uses 500 million disposable straws every day. That's enough to fill 127 school buses! EVERY DAY, and that is only in the US!
  • Straws are very light in weight and prone to end up in gutters, which lead into our gutter and drainage systems and eventually out to our waterways. Too often, they float all the way to the ocean.
  • Once in the ocean, marine animals often ingest the straws (and other small plastic items) because they think that it is food!
  • They also provided detailed information about cost-effective alternatives, and showed them little signs Maggie had made that they could put on their tables to educate others about the problem and Rosebud's role as part of the solution.

Like many people, the Rosebud's team hadn't known about the damage from straws. Once they knew, they were excited about making a positive change in their community. Since then, they have stopped using plastic straws completely (and Maggie hassome great new friends)!

What Can I Do?

Just ask Maggie! She can tell you!

Maggie suggests this: When you go to a restaurant ask for your drink to be 'strawless.'

You can even ask your own local/favorite restaurant to do what Rosebud's does: for almost a year now, Rosebud's has had small signs on each of their tables explaining the issue. They only give out straws upon request and any straws they do use are made out of paper. This has reduced their straw use by 90%!

Also, when you go shopping for your own home or business, purchase paper straws instead of plastic. Many companies are making colorful, fun paper straws now!

Being an Ocean Defender can mean different things. It takes all kinds of action and involvement to protect our oceans!
Will you join Maggie in this effort to reduce plastic pollution by taking action right where you live? We sure hope so!

Ocean Defender Kurt Lieber on dock with debris hauled in, including plastic straw (see circle)Ocean Defenders looks for plastic pollution in the ocean and removes it. See all the straws (in yellow circles)!

So, now that you know the problem...BE PART OF THE SOLUTION!

Be an Ocean Defender!

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