Skip the Plastic Straw; 12 year old’s project to protect marine life
12-year-old Chloe Mei Espinosa of Newport Beach, California, loves the ocean and the animals in it. The determined young activist started a campaign to “Skip The Plastic Straw,” in an effort to help keep our oceans free of trash that can hurt marine life.
The campaign started as a sixth-grade “passion project” for Chloe, and now it has its own website where people can take a “Skip the Plastic Straw” pledge. Her efforts have been so successful that she has well passed her goal of 500 pledges and even her school district (consisting of 32 schools)is on board and has completely ditched single-use plastic straws!
According to NBC Los Angeles, the Newport Mesa Unified School District had been going through 10,000 plastic straws per day, but will now eliminate them completely by January.
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Espinosa was delighted when her school district agreed to end their use of the plastic straw, which was also partly due to the help of the nutrition services director of her school district, Mrs. Ellis.
“It felt like the ocean was giving me a huge hug, saying, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me,’” she says.
Espinosa was inspired to start the campaign after watching a video of a sea turtle that had a plastic straw stuck in its nose. As she recently explained to students at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, California, marine animals can mistake the straws for food, causing them to suffocate, get injured, or die.
“It really broke my heart to see an innocent animal suffering from trash in the ocean,” she said.
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Espinosa says she wants to do everything she can to keep the ocean clean for future generations.
“I also thought about the kids in the future and if they went into the ocean, what they would see,” she says. “I want them to see a clean, healthy, trash-free ocean so they get to experience and see the marine life we have now.”
Espinosa wants to continue educating youth and encourage restaurants and other school districts to “Skip the Plastic Straw.” She has a message for other young people who are hoping to change the world.
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“I want other young people to know that in order to make a difference, it takes a lot of hard work and perseverance,” says Espinosa. “There might be an obstacle or challenge in your way that can be super frustrating that you just can’t seem to solve, but you must not give up. Just remember that whatever step you take, you are helping the world in some way.”
Espinosa is a wonderful role model for her generation, inspiring the youth of today to become activists. Saving marine life one straw at a time. I look forward to following her on her activism journey.
Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day. To understand just how many straws 500 million really is, this would fill over 125 school buses with straws every day. That’s 46,400 school buses every year!
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