A 12-Year-Old Girl from Orange County, California, has managed to get her school district to ditch plastic straws with the hope of protecting marine life.
Chloe Mei Espinosa is the living, breathing proof that age does not matter when you want to change things for the better. According to NBC4 News, she first started campaigning last year, as part of a sixth-grade project where students had to select a topic they were passionate about.
Scuba Diver In Sixth Grade Helps Eliminate Plastic Straws From Schools
This determined 12-year-old got more than 30 schools to ban plastic strawsPosted by NowThis Her on Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Chloe Mei, being an ocean enthusiast, researched the harm that single-use plastic straws cause to the environment, especially when they land in the oceans. She called her campaign ‘Skip the Plastic Straw’ and designed and set up a website where she shared her findings and encouraged others to help in her quest to protect marine life. Chloe Mei's father, David, had instilled a love of the ocean in his daughter at a young age, and he admitted that he was quite impressed with his daughter's website.
An avid scuba diver and nature lover, she shared on her website that she noticed the majority of trash she would collect with her family on “beach cleanups” was single-use plastics like bottles, bottle caps, and plastic straws, and urged everybody to skip the plastic straw altogether.
The Professional Association of Diving Instructors donated stainless-steel straws to distribute to people who took her pledge. Chloe Mei's mother, Liyen Yap, said some Newport Coast Elementary students used the metal straws to drink their milk at lunch, as a result of her daughter's campaign. "They said it was cool that I'm trying to reduce the use of plastic straws," Chloe Mei said. "I feel really happy because that's a lot of straws that aren't being used and entering the ocean."
As reported by Sportdiver, since launching her awareness campaign in April 2017, Espinosa has exceeded her goal of 500 pledges to over 600 people pledging to stop using single-use plastic straws within three months. The student then succeeded in getting her entire school district - consisting of 32 schools - to ditch plastic straws. They are considering the use of fully bio-degradable cutlery in the near future.
As late American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead once said: "We won't have a society if we destroy the environment". Thankfully, the winds of change have begun to blow when it comes to protecting the environment, especially with young activists like Chloe Mei, who are striving to make a real difference in our global society.