I spent some time on the phone this week with people I haven’t spoken to in a while. Catching up about what I do for work, they asked: “Oh, like the ban the straw thing?”

You’ve probably seen this disturbing video of a sea turtle having a straw pulled out of its nose. This, I think, brought ‘the ban the straw thing’ front and centre. The video forces us to watch the consequences of our disposable culture and it’s uncomfortable! However, some people still don’t seem to get it.  

Straws are a luxury. I know there are segments of the population that need straws, but for the rest of us, they serve no vital purpose. Straws are a ‘nice to have,’ not a ‘need to have.’ Straws are single-use plastic, useful for sucking up that one drink, then they’re garbage. Due to their small size and low weight, straws are hard to recycle.

I’ll admit, paper straws are not my thing, but they are an alternative to plastic. Better yet are reusable bamboo, metal, and glass straws. In some instances, going without a straw just makes the most sense.

Think of it this way. ‘The ban the straw thing’ isn’t just about plastic straws. It’s about how small actions have huge impacts on our shared planet.

No matter how much we love our family or roommates, living together can result in some eye-rolling, teeth clenching, “I need some earplugs,” moments. On a broader scale, we’re all roommates on planet earth. Our choices and actions have collective consequences. Some compromises are needed to benefit us all and the planet we all call home.  

P.S. If you want to know more about banning straws, my home coast led by Surfrider and some very eco-conscious businesses have done some awesome work. Check it out here. On a national level, Canada is working towards banning single-use plastics by 2021. While we are still waiting on some details, the federal commitment is a promising one!

Read the previous article in this series.

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