I’ve sucked. You suck. We all suck. This year, there has been a lot of discussion about saying no to single-use plastic straws. Now, it’s time for all of us to join the movement. As marine enthusiasts, we must reconsider our daily routines and make a conscious effort to #stopsucking. Unfortunately, straws have become ubiquitous in our modern lifestyles. Americans alone dispose of around 500 million single-use plastic straws every day. Many of these straws eventually end up in the ocean, and are part of the current estimation that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea.
How does this affect us?
Much of the single-use plastic so common in our lives ends up littering our beaches and in our landfills. Much of this trash eventually ends up in our oceans, causing a cascading ecological disaster. Seabirds, turtles, sharks, and other marine animals are found dead with large amounts of plastic in their stomachs. Along with harming sea life, microplastics have also found their way into the seafood we eat. So technically, we are consuming the single-use plastic as well.
The Strawless Ocean campaign
Because of this crisis, actor Adrian Grenier (most well-known from “Entourage”) has launched a campaign to convince people to stop using plastic straws. The Strawless Ocean campaign hopes to educate everyone on the harm plastic pollution does to the ocean and encourage them to minimize use wherever possible. Grenier not only created the campaign, but has also been encouraging other public figures to take part in the campaign as well.
What can we do?
In order to help the movement, it’s time for each of us to take the pledge. Join Grenier in publicizing the #stopsucking movement by sharing with your friends, family, and coworkers the importance of saying no to single-use plastic straws at restaurants and bars. If you must use a straw, choose options like paper straws, metal straws, bamboo straws, or other eco-friendly reusable straws, all readily available. Next time you post a selfie, why not post a picture that includes a sustainable way of enjoying a lunch break or night out with friends? Pictures like this draw others’ attention to the Strawless Ocean message, creating awareness for a larger audience.
If you aren’t one for selfies, just the simple act of educating peers about the oceans’ plastic problem can make a difference. When you eat out, tell your server you don’t want a straw. Furthermore, encourage all your dining companions to do the same. Not only will you reduce the amount of plastic we use in general, but you’ll also make others aware of the problem in a non-confrontational way. The more effort we put toward Grenier’s vision, the more impact we can have. Now get out there and #stopsucking.