Did you know that nearly 500 million straws are used every day in the United States? I don't know about you, but that sounds like a lot of straws (and a lot of plastic) to me. According to the "For A Strawless Ocean" movement, most of those straws are bound to end up in the ocean — and I think we can all imagine just how detrimental that sounds to all of the marine life in it.
In just over 30 years, our oceans are projected to contain more plastic than actual fish, and I'm sure that I wouldn't be the first to say that our overuse of plastic straws is doing nothing to help that prediction. 2050 suddenly isn't looking too great — and I think that stands as a call-to-action for all of us.
We have the power to change the state of our oceans, it's just a matter of whether or not we enact it.
It wasn't until I came to college that I became acquainted with just how important sustainability is. It wasn't until my sophomore year of college that I really learned about why we should be using straws — and it wasn't until this past summer that I bought my first metal straw, and (mostly) kissed the plastic straw-life goodbye.
Of course, I have a few wonderful, environmentally-conscious friends to thank for that. I have come to know so many wonderful people over the last few years, people who care about the environment and the way we treat it. Being surrounded by friends who will stand up for our planet, turn down straws at restaurants, and take the time to explain why we shouldn't use them — that all has changed me for the better.
Having a best friend who absolutely loves sea turtles and our oceans — that's influenced my own thought patterns, and I mean that in the absolute best way possible. Just being surrounded by people who care and are so knowledgeable about environmental issues has taught me so much about why change is necessary. It's our oceans, it's our sea turtles, it's a bird, and it's all sorts of other life being affected by something that could so simply be managed.
I might get some funny looks when I pull my metal straw out of my book bag after ordering my near-daily dose of iced coffee, but I would like to think that those looks still top the harm that straws are causing to our oceans. I would rather get a few funny looks if it means I can help our environment — and through the smallest of actions at that.
So yes, if you give me a straw, I will politely refuse. I can't imagine a happy and healthy planet without happy and healthy oceans in it, and I think that's enough reasoning to take even the smallest of actions to help ignite change.