A challenge has been issued.
Focused on providing education that inspires youth and the innovative community, the Lonely Whale Foundation strives to “inspire empathy towards marine species and develop life long advocate for ocean health,” according to their website. Founded by Adrian Grenier and Lucy Sumner in December 2015, the foundation wants to challenge 10 cities around the world “to go strawless” within the year.
As an alternative to single-use plastic straws, Aardvark paper straws are the only eco-friendly, FDA-approved paper straws made entirely in the USA. They were originally introduced in 2007 in response to a growing anti-plastic movement.
With the success of more than 150 businesses, venues and restaurants committed to “#StopSucking” in September, Seattle was just the beginning. Wrapping up the campaign during the week of Oct. 25, 19 candidate cities were announced for the 2018 Strawless Ocean tour, including cities such as New York City, London, Portland, Amsterdam, San Francisco and more.
Emy Kane from the Lonely Whale Foundation noted how receptive Seattle was in tackling this pollution problem. According to the press release, more than two million straws were eliminated from the city in September alone.
To celebrate the milestone, a wrap up party was thrown on Sept. 26 at Woodland Park Zoo. During the event, the foundation issued a guessing game, encouraging Seattleites and national supporters to vote who they thought was the local celebrity athlete behind the disappearing plastic straws around Seattle.
The list of athletes for the guessing game included the Mariner’s right fielder Mitch Haniger, the Storm’s power forward Breanna Stewart, the Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson and the Sounders’ coach Brian Schmestzer.
While all candidates committed to help with the movement, Wilson was revealed to be the celebrity athlete partnered with the Strawless In Seattle campaign.
“Plastic pollution is choking our ocean, harming sea life and putting our own health at risk. That’s why I decided to accept Lonely Whale’s challenge and lead our team to fight for our ocean,” said Wilson. “The million plastic straws removed this month during Strawless In Seattle has shown just how powerful, and how necessary, teamwork is for success—from individual to institution.”
Dune Ives, the executive director of the Lonely Whale Foundation, conveyed how proud she was of what Seattle has accomplished.
“The engagement from leading establishments, residents and policy makers has been overwhelmingly positive and, importantly, we’ve seen the dialogue about straws transitions into the important decision about our continued use of single-use plastics and where else we can reduce our plastic pollution,” she said.
This was a first step, but a successful one, Ives noted, and she, along with the rest of the foundation, looks forward to taking the campaign to other cities to achieve a strawless ocean collaboratively.
Rooted in the philosophy of radical collaboration, the Lonely Whale Foundation has committed to have at least one non-governmental organization partner with every program, initiative and campaign.
“By working together, we can go further, faster,” they said.
For more information on Strawless in Seattle and to find all participating venues, visit strawlessocean.org/seattle. You can also connect with the Lonely Whale Foundation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.