Earlier this January, a local Orange County family lead the charge down the streets of Laguna Beach to educate the local restaurants and eateries about the harm of plastic straws. They were joined by a amazing group of 5-11 year old's known as water warriors and their mascot Ridley the Seal. The group made waves in the small community.
The morning kicked off with 11-year-old Chase Benson, of TED Talks fame, giving a speech to the kids highlighting the devastation plastic straws has on our ocean and sea animals. He spoke to the kids about plastic straw alternatives such as Simply Straws Glass Straws. The kids carried their favorite stuffed sea animals ranging from seals to turtles to sharks as they walked and talked to businesses asking them to participate in the Ridley the Seal™ “Skip the Straw” campaign.
Their message is one we know by heart, that plastic straws pollute our oceans, are not recyclable and not biodegradable. Five hundred million single-use straws are used in the US every day and take 200 years to break down. When they do, it results in tiny toxic particles, which are ingested by sea animals and fish. Restaurants were given a table tent flyer asked to only serve straws upon request.
The public took notice of the the walk , stopping these warriors to asks questions about the walk as they picked up trash along the way. The walk ended at the local firehouse where the firefighters congratulated the kids on their efforts and then opened up the garage to let them look at the fire truck up close.
The Ridley the Seal character was created by locals Allison Hushek and her five-year-old son, Adrian, to draw attention to this cause. In Nov, the campaign launch was awarded the 2017 Giving Tuesday prize by the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. Ridley the Seal was lovingly named after the famous olive ridley sea turtle that had a plastic straw painfully removed from its nostril.
Allison thinks there is hope for Laguna Beach, “If a city as large as Seattle can work together to ban plastic straws, Laguna Beach can do it, too. It’s about educating the public so they make better decisions to not use a straw, or opt for a reusable straw made out of stainless steel, bamboo or glass.”
Support Ridley the Seal and learn more at www.ridleytheseal.com.
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