As of the past several years, I'm happy to report that it seems that more people have realized the situation of our environment's current state, and have taken steps necessary to improve the quality of life for animals, as well as for ourselves.
Nearly everywhere we look, there is a reminder that the environment needs our help after the level of strain we have put on it. Movies, especially, depict a world in jeopardy, ranging from just the hints of pollution altering the sky so that we cannot view the stars, to more extremes in which the planet becomes too dangerous to live on. In the latter, for example, the planet that allowed us to grow as a population and made our very lives possible has died, oftentimes by the sheer amount of pollution and overpopulation. Wall-E comes to mind as a movie that hits you over the head with the stance that every action has consequences when it comes to the wastes we leave behind, but lest we forget The Lorax or Happy Feet, which features a scene with plastic rings choking a penguin.
Over the past several months, many initiatives have turned to plastic straws. Admittedly, as much as talk revolves around plastic bags in the ocean, or plastic bottles, I never thought to consider straws as a true endangerment until one of my friends brought the topic up. Until I actually sat down to consider it, I never thought about how much I use straws, and how many straws must be disposed of each year. To me, straws were forgettable, lost among plastic rings, disposable bottles, and oil spills that have taken up so much of media surrounding pollution.
Thankfully, the sheer number of straws that are used seems to be coming to a halt in the coming months. California became the first state to take measures against plastic straws. California Jerry Brown signed a bill that will come into effect in the fast-approaching 2019. According to the bill, dine-in restaurants are only to give straws to customers who request one. Brown described the bill as "a small step" to reducing the use of single-use plastic waste such as the straws, and seems set on finding other ways to reduce all pollution in his state and encourage people to find alternatives for the sake of the environment.
Fortunately, California is not the only area of the country where measures have been taken. Seattle and San Francisco have both taken measures to try and regulate the usage of straws. In July, Seattle banned all plastic straws and utensils - if a customer requests a straw, they will be given one that is compostable. In July of next year, straws and all similar plastic utensils will be banned San Francisco. Even Starbucks has said that they hope to eliminate their green straws by 2020.
If all bills and bans are carried out and continue to gain traction in the coming months and years, then I hope that it will save more fish and sea creatures for a longer and better life. The straws, however, mark only a single step of a much bigger problem, and more states need to chip in for any real progress to be made. Together, we need to save our environment for the future generations.