#StopSucking

#StopSucking

Updated Sep 23, 2019 at 02:07AM EDT by Y F.

Added Jul 12, 2018 at 03:02PM EDT by Matt.

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Overview

#StopSucking is a social media campaign started by the environmental group the Lonely Whale aimed at decreasing the use of plastic straws and other single-use plastics to reduce the amount of pollution in the Earth's oceans. Some have criticized the campaign for placing the onerous on solving the world's ecological issues on consumers rather than corporations, as well as discriminating against individuals with disabilities who rely on straws to drink.

Background

The movement to ban rose to prominence in 2015,[2] after a viral video of a sea turtle having a straw removed from its nose. The post (shown below) was uploaded by
YouTuber Sea Turtle Biologist on August 10th, 2015. It has received more than 30 million views in three years.



Development

Lonely Whale Campaign

On March 12th, 2017, actor, environmentalist and co-founder of Lonely Whale tweeted a video of his drinking being knocked from his hand by a tentacle. He captioned the tweet,[1] “We use 500 MILLION #plastic straws everyday in the US. Some end up in our ocean, polluting it. #StopSucking with me http://strawlessocean.org.” The post launched the #StopSucking campaign and received more than 2,300 retweets and 4,300 likes in 15 months.




Later that month, on March 31st, Lonely Whale uploaded a video of numerous people having a their straw knocked from their hands by a tentacle. The post (shown below) received more tahn 22,000 views in 15 months.



Legislation

On January 17th, 2018, an assembly bill, which would make straws only available upon request in California, was introduced to the state legislature.[3] The following week, California State Majority Leader Ian Calderon tweeted,[4] "I’d like to clarify that #AB1884 (Straws Upon Request) is (a) NOT a ban; (b) should it become law, it will NOT make it a crime for servers to provide plastic straws. My intention is simply to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of plastic straws on our environment." The post (shown below) received more than 45 retweets and 170 likes in a year and a half.


lan C. Calderorn @lanCalderon I'd like to clarify that #AB1884 (Straws Upon Request) is (a) NOT a ban; (b) should it become law, it will NOT make it a crime for servers to provide plastic straws. My intention is simply to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of plastic straws on our environment.

Over the next several months, cities and states, including New York City, Hawaii, Seattle and more have considered similar approaches to banning straws.[5]

Corporate Response

On July 9th, 2018, Starbucks coffee shops announced that they planned to eliminate plastic straws by 2020.[6] That day, the company tweeted,[7] "We're removing plastic straws in our stores globally by 2020--reducing more than 1 billion plastic straws per year from our stores." The post (shown below) received more than 8,300 retweets and 24,000 likes in three days.


Starbucks Coffee Ф @Starbucks We're removing plastic straws in our stores globally by 2020-reducing more than 1 billion plastic straws per year from our stores. New strawless lids to replace plastic straws news.starbucks.com

Criticism

On July 11th, NPR[8] published a piece entitled "Why People With Disabilities Want Bans On Plastic Straws To Be More Flexible." In the piece, NPR quoted several activists who explained that many people with disabilities require straws to eat and drink. They quoted autism activist Lei Wiley-Mydske who said:

"Disabled people have to find ways to navigate through the world because they know it was not made for us. If someone says, 'This does not work for me,' it's because they've tried everything else.

You're putting this burden on disabled people to come up with a solution. You're not asking companies that manufacture straws to come up with a version that works for us. You won't even take the bus instead of driving your car somewhere," she says, adding, "How many of you are willing to die for the environment?"

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