Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Plastic Straws Suck

Plastic Straws Suck

Have you thrown “away” your two plastic straws today?  Since every day Americans use and then trash (no such thing as “away”) over 500 million plastic straws, that’s what each of us do daily.  Calculated for our lifetimes - 38,000 plastic straws per person.

But if you simply say “No thanks, I’m not using straws this month,” (or “I have a nice metal reusable one with me,”) not only will you help the ocean, save the lives of marine animals and reduce the landfill – you can earn this cool Girl Scout patch (pictured).  Simply sign the “No Straw November” pledge and send $2 to  You don’t even need to be a Girl Scout to get the patch, but local Girl Scout and San Benito High student Shelby O’Neil is getting her Gold Award (like Eagle Scout) for this project and lots of troops are part of the effort.  Help out Shelby!

Shelby got my attention because she is local, has convinced the cities of Monterey and Pacific Grove and the California Coastal Commission to endorse No Straw November, and even motivated Costco to stop offering plastic coffee stirrers for sale online.

But she’s not the first person to take on this scourge.  The fabulous Surfrider Foundation has a campaign “Plastic Straws Suck!”  Even the National Park Service asks its food concessions to be straw free.  Some efforts seek to ban plastic straws outright (the City of Carmel just did that, after school kids came to the Council meeting), others ask restaurants simply to ask before automatically giving you a straw - 70% of folks say no thanks.

Maybe the “gross-out” factor can help change our habits: Plastic straws are made of petroleum – that’s oil in our mouths.  Plastic never biodegrades, it just gets smaller and smaller, then it’s eaten by birds and turtles and fish.  So it ultimately ends up on our fish dinner plate and in our stomachs too.  Watch a really disturbing National Geo video by Googling “How did a sea turtle get a straw up its nose?”

I hope these weekly Blue Theology posts have more hope than despair.  Folks like Shelby inspire me and make me grateful.  Since many groups designate November a “gratitude month” I’ll suggest an action each week that can help us say “Thank You Ocean.”   This week: no plastic straw, please.

38 youth and their adult leaders from Disciples of Christ churches around Northern Cal. Are coming to our Pacific Grove Blue Theology Mission Station this weekend.  They’re doing the sermon Sunday, after visiting the Aquarium, praying for the ocean, picking up straws and other beach trash, collecting data on sand crabs and singing “Ocean is a Call to Worship.”  Hold us in your prayers! I post here every Wednesday.

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