No Straw November

By Eleanor Trese, Thereza Zephir, and Daniel Neville
DEC. 11, 2019

No Straw November is a challenge that was created in 2017 specifically to spread awareness of how much plastic pollutes the oceans. During No Straw November, people taking on the challenge pledge not to use any plastic straws. According to Ocean Crusaders.org, “100,000 marine creatures die each year from plastic straws.” The No Straw November challenge can be the first step towards the planet’s oceans becoming plastic free. 

An alternative to using plastic straws is a more environmentally friendly substitute such as paper straws. Paper straws have become more and more common over the last couple of years. Some restaurants and caterers offer environmentally friendly options for plastic silverware, dishes and straws. This is a prime example of how easy it would be to take on No Straw November. During the past year, some cities in the United States have banned the use of plastic straws. CBSnews.com reported that one such city is Seattle, which  “… is believed to be the first major U.S. city to ban single-use plastic straws and utensils in food service.” In her article for fortune.com, Erin Corbett, said that not just cities, but companies such as Starbucks, Hyatt Hotels, American Airlines, and Royal Carribean are embracing the idea of reducing the use of plastic utensils and straws

The inspiration behind No Straw November is seventeen-year-old California high school student, Shelby O’Neil. According to jroceanguardians.org, No Straw November originated on the thought that one small change can make a difference to help build awareness to single-use plastic.” Shelby O’Neil is also the founder of Jr. Ocean Guardians, which is a non-profit organization that wants to motivate today’s youth to preserve the oceans. She founded Jr. Ocean Guardians as her 2017 Girl Scout of America Gold Award Project

Ms. Aimee Lowe, moderator of St. Thomas Aquinas High School’s (STA) Marine Biology Club, shared her opinion on the No Straw November movement with the Raider Review. Ms. Lowe said, “People can easily avoid disposable plastic, I don’t think straws are our biggest problem. However, any disposable plastic should be avoided.” She explained that No Straw November is a great way to start cleaning up the oceans from plastic pollution, but the oceans won’t be completely saved unless we make some drastic changes. Mrs. Lowe also told the Raider Review, “I think it’s great, but it should be No Straw All Year, not just one month. It would be great if people could give up straws permanently.” If people can stop using plastic straws altogether, it can push everyone into the right direction for ending the use of all disposable plastic products and plastic pollution.

According to Ms. Lowe, by 2050 it is predicted that half of the ocean will be filled with plastic. The world needs saving, and it needs it fast. To learn more about pollution, and No Straw November stop by room 211 to see Ms. Lowe.