We Need to Stop Sucking … For the Sake of the Ocean

Everybody sucks, or has at least sucked at some point. The problem is that we suck because we’re sucking on plastic straws. We suck so much that we use and toss an estimated 500 million plastic straws every single day, and that waste is hurting wildlife and the environment.

Sadly, much of that waste makes its way into the ocean, where it poses a serious threat to marine life. A video made by researchers in 2015 that showed them removing a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nose really drove home that point, but we’re still sucking, and the problem is only going to get worse if we don’t stop.

That’s why this September, actor Adrian Grenier’s organization the Lonely Whale Foundation will be bringing a campaign to Seattle, Wash., to get people to stop sucking on plastic straws.

The campaign is part of the organization’s Strawless Ocean initiative, which is urging everyone from individuals to businesses to ditch plastic straws, and either go straw-free, or switch to reusable alternatives.

“We are living during a critical turning point for our ocean, and that’s why I’m excited to celebrate the city of Seattle as a true ocean health leader,” said Grenier. “Alongside Lonely Whale Foundation, Seattle’s citywide commitment demonstrates our collective strength to create measurable impact and address the global ocean plastic pollution crisis. We are starting in Seattle with the plastic straw and see no limits if we combine forces to solve this global issue.”

Although straws are small, and some are recyclable, they’re slipping through the cracks, and they add up. Those 500 million straws come out to about 12 million pounds of plastic waste every year. As the organization notes, the problem is already big and if we don’t take action now, there is expected to be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.

The campaign might not wipe every single straw out of Seattle, but it will hopefully help raise awareness about the issue and have a big impact by getting people to switch, and to rethink using such an unnecessary item. Maybe it’s using a little bit of humor to help the campaign catch on, but it seems to be working. People are already accepting the challenge, and dozens of major businesses have pledged to eliminate plastic straws from their facilities for the month, with some going even further.

While the campaign is focused on Seattle for the month of September, people everywhere are invited to participate and make this an everyday thing everywhere by taking the pledge to #StopSucking.

For more on how to get involved and alternatives to single-use plastic straws, check out the Lonely Whale Foundation and its Strawless Ocean campaign, and sign the Care2 petition asking McDonalds to stop giving out plastic straws.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

128 comments

Sarah Hill
Sarah H28 days ago

It's not the straws fault they end up in the oceans. It's those of us who litter. If everyone disposed of our trash in the right manner this would not be an issue.

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joan silaco
joan s1 months ago

TYFS

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Paul A
Paul A2 months ago

Ocean trash anywhere (but esp. the Great Pacific & North Atlantic garbage patches), seems to come mainly from people on these oceans; they use them as literal trash dumps. Look at U-tube videos about these garbage patches; horrifying. But to say no to plastic straws, is analogous to a commitment to reducing your pack-a-day tobacco habit by 1 cigarette a year. On the day you genuinely care about your personal health, I'll bet you a million that you will not smoke even one more during the rest of your life. We are what we do, and no more!

All this is not about caring for Earth or its oceans; this is about getting attention; it is yet another manifestation of the epidemic of faux caring; this is all capitalistic or for-profit. The single act of owning and/or operating a car, is itself, a brazen scream out into the universe, of ones complete indifference to the local or global environment, and it is hypocrisy for the devotees of the car-cult, to even utter any protestations of caring at all, for the environment.

But the guilt-ridden angrily seek self-justification, every waking minute, until something transformative occurs in their corporeal course to drastically alter how they live (on Earth) from that moment forward. In the meantime, everything is fodder, denial or distraction (e.g. Straw-less in Seattle).

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Paul A
Paul A2 months ago

No straws, used on the North American continent anyway, will end up in any ocean, unless you literally walk-up to the ocean and toss it in. Trash (solid or liquid waste) is regulated on this continent; all of it goes into landfills. I know, not an improvement, but you are reading from an ultra-conservative person. (BTW: I'm non-political, so the words I choose, are not based upon that cult: the cult of politics). I teach and live by the 3-R's.

Almost all ocean trash gets there via those who are on the high seas, and use it as their landfill (since there's no land to bury it in out there): Cruise ships, fishing boats, cargo ships, and so on; any floating ship with lots of people on them, and no way to dispose of their trash otherwise. And then there are countries that actually collect all their land-based trash, and rather than bury it, they take it out on huge barges and dump it in the ocean; on purpose.

Personally I use glass straws at home; the fat ones made/used for milk shakes: I got them for my nutriblasts, but that's the only time I even use a straw at all; out in public I just drink right from the glass. 4 decades a coffee-house (*$) fan, and I still ask for a ceramic cup for drip coffee in store. Born in the late 50's, I was brought up to see straws as a kid thing, like bottles and pacifiers are strictly for infants: So I stopped using straws when I was about 10, and to this day I still feel a bit odd

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Mike R
Mike R2 months ago

Thanks

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Mike R
Mike R2 months ago

Thanks

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M. M
M. M2 months ago

I don't remember last time I used a straw! Plastic or paper... and if I use it I will do a proper disposal for recycling!

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE2 months ago

In most cases plastic is dangerous.

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Paulo R
Paulo R2 months ago

ty

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Maria P
Maria P2 months ago

Thanks a lot for a most interesting article.

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