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“Stop Sucking” for Ocean Conservation

plastic straws at the beach

Getting a straw with our drink happens so often, we rarely even think about it. But, what if I told you that single straw could mean life or death for ocean wildlife? Every day, 500 million plastic straws are used in the U.S. alone, and with these staggering numbers comes a significant environmental impact – if we continue this trend, plastic will outweigh fish in the ocean by 2050.

Luckily, we don’t have to live in a world where there is more litter in our oceans than marine animals. Started by the Lonely Whale Foundation, a nonprofit focused on driving change in ocean conservation through dynamic media and marketing, the Stop Sucking Challenge has turned environmentalism into a viral social movement. The rules are simple: Hop on your favorite social media platform (Instagram is a popular choice) and invite a friend to #stopsucking with a link to the challenge website. If you want to post something other than a selfie or a video, Lonely Whale has compiled a library of GIFs and images that call awareness to plastic straw overuse in a fun and creative way.

With celebrity endorsements from the likes of Adrian Grenier and Ellen Pompeo, as well as coverage by major media outlets, including CNN, National Geographic and Fast Company, Stop Sucking has developed into a major social media campaign. On Instagram alone, Stop Sucking has nearly 35,000 hashtagged posts and its profile has 239,000 followers. And it doesn’t stop there! People have even challenged restaurants, bars and other businesses to completely remove single-use plastics from their inventory. In fact, Lonely Whale spearheaded a city-wide initiative called Strawless in Seattle, that aimed to completely stop the use of single-use straws in Seattle – and it worked! By July 2018, Seattle had removed 2.3 million plastic straws from the city, making it the largest metropolitan city to ban single-use plastic straws.

So, how do you Stop Sucking? Well, there are a few different ways. Lonely Whale has partnered with a variety of innovative companies that specialize in the production of eco-friendly straws. Aardvark, for example, makes flexible, biodegradable paper straws that decompose in 45-90 days. Simply Straws sells colorful glass straws that can be used as a stylish, reusable alternative. You can also invest in a sleek steel and silicone canteen from Klean Kanteen or a unique metal straw by Steely’s Drinkware. If you want to test out these plastic straw alternatives, many of these companies offer free samples and starter kits, so you can easily transition into a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

If you’re interested in starting your own campaign for cleaner oceans, Lonely Whale offers a Mini Grants for a Strawless Ocean program that supports grassroots environmentalism. Open to individuals, organizations and community representatives, this grant program will ensure everyone has the opportunity to end single-use plastic straw pollution. This year, 20 grantees will be awarded with up to $2000 in funding to help them make an impact on ocean conservation in their local area.

Working alongside other social campaigns, such as the UN Environment’s #cleanseas movement, and organizations like Heal the Bay, Stop Sucking has become an inspiring game-changer in the fight for safe, straw-free oceans. This month, you can find Lonely Whale at the Ocean Hero’s Bootcamp in New Orleans, where they will be teaching emerging environmentalists about the importance of ocean conservation. To learn more about Lonely Whale and their Stop Sucking campaign, visit stopsucking.strawlessocean.org.

Here at Clam & Clasp, we are constantly inspired by organizations like Lonely Whale that are saving our planet’s oceans. With every purchase of a Clam & Clasp handcrafted seashell necklace or bracelet, 20% of the proceeds go towards ocean conservation organizations. Click here to shop the collection. 


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