Banning Straws Is A Band-Aid To Our Ocean Problem

Banning Straws Is A Band-Aid To Our Ocean Problem

Straws make up 4% of our ocean pollution

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When I first realized the push to ban straws was such a serious movement I couldn't help but laugh. I have seen where people will comment on why it doesn't help but that it's inspiring people are trying. I don't think that it is inspiring at all and here's why:

First I will start with a percentage. Straws make up 4% of the plastic pollution in our oceans. Four.

I did not think people were all that serious about straws being such a big issue until I found out Starbucks had stopped using straws. Starbucks is a great place to start with a movement because of the number of consumers and the weight they hold all around the world. Anyone who loves Starbucks will support their movement to stop using plastic straws, but that's as far as they have gone with that. As they still use plastic lids and cups which both hold more weight than straws ever will in ocean pollution. But Starbucks isn't the only place that has banned straws. It has become a huge movement all around the world.

I see so many adverts, every single day, pushing people to use less plastic in their daily lives. Go without a straw, bag your groceries with a reusable bag, and use more reusable bottles than plastic bottles. People push and push and do all that they can to advertise ignoring that the problem is much bigger than our daily use of plastic.

Fishing gear makes up the biggest percentage of our ocean pollution. Fishing Nets alone make up nearly half of ocean plastic pollution. 46% to be exact. But you don't see that. You don't see the lives of marine life taken by unused "ghost nets". Instead, you see that we should stop using plastic straws when we go out to eat once a week. You see people doing their best to eliminate plastic from their life completely in hopes to save the ocean. The consumers of plastic products and those who use plastic every day are the said problem to plastic pollution, ignoring that those who spend the most time in our oceans are the bigger problems.

And do you know why people go out into our oceans with such massive amounts of fishing gear? Because seafood is in such high demand. Those who tell us to stop using plastic and to save our oceans are still eating the marine life they are trying to save.

And why exactly are we protecting our oceans when we kill to eat and for sport? We are ironically trying to save our ocean life by doing all that we can besides not eating them or fishing for them. The same way we are scared of being eaten by a shark when hunting sharks is a huge sport. We kill more sharks than sharks will ever kill us and, yet, we are scared of them. What better way to save our marine life than to leave them alone?

As a vegan, I hear how hard it is to give up certain meats including seafood. I get that, but I don't hear how hard it is to give up plastic to play a part in the community trying to save our oceans. They have made metal straws, even as portable keychains, so you can cut out your use of plastic straws. As if that's the problem.

Lol, use your metal straw to wash down the seafood you eat. Love it.

I'm not the most educated on this subject but I think you get the point. Banning straws and our daily plastic products aren't going to save our oceans completely. And I'm not ignoring that we do use lots of plastic that does end up in our oceans because we do. But what we are ignoring, and ignore every day, is that our biggest ocean problems are not our straws, our plastic bags, or our plastic cups. It's the hunting, killing, and eating of our marine life. Straws are just a band-aid.

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An Apology Letter To Mother Nature

I am sorry, but sorry just isn't enough.
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Dear Mother Nature,

I don’t even now where to begin. The simple phrase of “I’m sorry” just doesn’t cut it. You have provided us with food, shelter, air, water, resources and most importantly, love. For centuries you have unconditionally provided for mankind and the animals we share this planet with, and you never truly ask for anything in return but care and love. You truly are the mother of the world. You support all races, religions, genders, ages and all walks of life. You love unconditionally and provide for us always. Not just the things we need to survive, but the very things that make life worth living.

We have four seasons that fill our lives with pure beauty. Summer brings us the beautifully hot sun, warm sand between our toes and cool water to swim in. Fall, which gives us trees of all different shades, the fallen leaves we push into piles and jump in as kids, warm apple cider and nights by the fire. Winter, which gives us the beautiful blanket of sparkling, white snow, the scent of pine trees in the air, hills to sled down and frozen ponds to skate on. You then tie it all together with the complete rebirth of the land in spring. Animals giving birth, flowers poking their heads, all new vibrant colors and the melodious songs of birds return.

Mother Nature, you have given us beautiful and exotic islands to travel to and explore. You have given us wide mountain ranges to follow and find new adventures on. There are deep oceans teeming with colorful fish and coral, dark caverns and unexplored portions man has yet to touch. We have rivers to follow that carry the currents down unchartered paths. You have even given us our animal companions to share this planet with. They clean our water and air, they help provide us with food, but most importantly they give us companionship and love. This is the beautiful home you have made for us, Mother Earth, and for that I am sorry.

I am sorry that many people do not see our planet this way. That many people see the wonders you have created as simply commodities to be used up, mass produced and wasted, all at the expense of making money. We build skyscrapers to block out the sun, install artificial light that blocks out the sky and stars, we no longer feel grass between our feet but we have cold concrete, certain animals are seen as not having emotions but simply being put on this earth for us to use as food and mistreat. We take all you have provided for us and use it until we can use no more. We exploit this beautiful home you have given us. And as we exploit it, we seem to wound you.

You cry in pain, but no one seems to hear it. Those who do hear you have been silenced by higher powers, those who try and mend your wounds are removed from the public. It seems we have attempted to numb ourselves from your pain, as it hurts us too much to know that we have begun the process of killing you. Only now have many people begun to realize the damage we have caused you, Mother Nature. Only now can we maybe, and I stress maybe, begin to fix the damage we have done to you. Mother Nature, I am sorry. But sorry will never be enough.

Cover Image Credit: HD Wallpaper Background

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'The Ocean Cleanup' May Not, In Fact, Clean The Ocean

The Ocean Cleanup is an innovation intended to clear the plastic in our oceans, but is it actually working?

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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a 1.6 million square kilometer area between Hawaii and California where plastic and debris float with little decay. This number is provided by researchers from The Ocean Cleanup organization, a group started by Boyan Slat. Their mission: reduce the litter in our oceans by nearly 50% every five years.

This idea is idyllic and practically genius. It is a large U-shaped float, with "skirts" underneath the buoys it that sweep plastic further below the surface. It seems perfect, as the pollution on our planet needs to be remedied within our generation through tangible means. Instead of just "preaching" environmental friendliness, we need to solve the issues at hand. Therefore, while I commend this creation and the goals it is set to accomplish, there are a few bones to pick about its functionality.

First, we need to focus on how the abundance of plastic is getting into our oceans in the first place. Humans have destroyed our Earth, but when fantastical ideas come around to solve all of the problems, we often forget about the cause of the issue The Ocean Cleanup provides a thought of salvation but simultaneously allows people to ignore the fact about why we need this drastic remedy.

Another flaw in the plan is the possible impacts the contraption may have on marine life. Though it will potentially reduce the tragic occurrences of plastic interfering with ocean animals' food and lives, there is a risk that these same animals may get caught up inside the machine, harming them further.

Of course, another argument is the possibility of the creation not working and instead of adding a massive floating mechanism into the pile of existing trash. In addition, most of the trash in the ocean is not in large pieces, but rather is broken into smaller particles and spread throughout our waters.

While these reasons may seem to debunk The Ocean Cleanup's idea, at least they have an idea. Donators or contributors must be aware of the foreseeable detriments that this "solution" can cause. With this said, it is one of the better ideas put into use; however, the root of this entire issue resides in our selfish and unnecessary consumption of plastics and a disregard for the way they are disposed of.

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