Carter and Olivia Ries

Global OneLessStraw Pledge Campaign.

Hi, this is Olivia (14) and I am one of the founders of an organization we started back in 2009 called One More Generation (OMG) and today I would like to introduce you to our latest environmental initiative.  Ever since the BP Gulf oil spill in 2010, my brother Carter (16) and I have been working hard to find ways we could help clean up the environment.  I remember our first environmental education initiative was the launch of our award winning Plastic and Recycling Awareness Curriculum which we created after learning how server the issue of plastic pollution is.  Since that time, we have been striving to get more people involved with reducing their ‘plastic footprint’.  Our latest initiative is our global OneLessStraw Pledge Campaign which we developed in an attempt to educate and inspire our peers to get involved and make a difference.  Did you know, it is estimated that in America alone we are using 500-million single use plastic straws every single day?  That is like 1.6 straws for every man, woman and child living in this country every single day.  If you took the daily usage of plastic straws we use here in America, you could fill up 127 school busses every single day and most never get recycled. Think about that, I ride a bus to school everyday and I can not image what it must be like to see 127 busses filled with just plastic straws… sad isn’t it?

The OneLessStraw Pledge Campaign asks individuals to sign a pledge stating that they promise to go strawless for 30-days.  Anybody can do that right?  We even built-in a school component that allows students to learn about the issue and their homework assignment is to get at least one family member to do the same.  If the schools are interested, they can even turn the campaign into a free fundraiser for the school.  We also also added a component for restaurants (since we know that they hand out more straws than anyone) so they too can get involved by pledging to only hand out straws upon request.  We even give out free campaign buttons to all participating restaurants which state “We Only Serve Straws Upon Request”.  Servers wearing the campaign buttons are reporting a 70 to 80% reduction in straw usage simply by implementing the program which is not only saving the environment, but it also saves restaurants lots of money.  The campaign buttons are so popular that they have already been translated into nine different languages.

Since launching the campaign last Oct, the OneLessStraw campaign has received thousands of pledges from around the world.  People from over 45 countries are participating and we even have over 300 partners from around the world who are helping spread the word about the initiative.  We are now working with Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic, singer Jack Johnson (I love his music) and many other amazing partners on ways they can all reduce their single use plastic straw usage.  Our interactive Google map shows just how far and wide our campaign has spread around the world and ourPartners Pagetouts an impressive list of amazing partners who are helping to make the campaign a global success.  We are also looking for more schools to get involved and as many restaurants as possible as well so if you know any, please connect us.  

You can learn more about our company and all that we have been involved in by viewing our TEDxYouth presentation.  We also encourage you to “Like” our Facebook Pages and our Twitter pages and let us know what you think of our work. As a nonprofit, we rely heavily on donations to continue our global efforts.  If you are interested in donating to help us out, please visit our Donation link for all the details.

 If you would like to also get involved in our work, please send us an email and we will be sure to get back in touch with you.  As we always say at the end of every presentation “Anybody can make a difference… if we can, you can too”.

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