In one year, 1.15 to 2.41 million tons of plastic goes into the ocean from rivers around the world. That number is crazy; all of this plastic makes a small island of just plastic. This plastic that's in the ocean gets eaten by animals or they get stuck in it. Either way, it kills them.
The movie, Dolphin Tale, predicted this tragedy. A dolphin gets its tail stuck in fishing net, and when rescuers cut the netting off, the tail has to come off too because of the lack of blood flow. We are hurting animals in real life by using plastic, and there are little things we can do to help that wouldn’t put us at too much of an inconvenience.
We have to get better at this. So, instead of using a plastic straws, why not use a paper or metal straw? You may think “Oh, I don’t want to clean a straw or have a straw collapses on me,” but the animals are thinking, “Oh I don’t want to eat a plastic straw and die.” You see it as a big problem that you don’t want to clean a straw, but if it could save a life of an animal, why not take a minute out of your day to do so?
Instead of using a plastic bag, why not use a reusable one? Plastic may be easier, but it would be so easy to just remember to bring a reusable bag in from your car. In some places, stores charge for plastic bags, so it could be cheaper to buy one and keep using it. You would get your money back. It may be hard to remember, but if you make it a habit, you won’t even have to remember.
You probably hear these two all the time, but have you thought about toothbrushes? They are mostly all plastic. I would like to change to wooden toothbrushes. Plastic does not decompose, but wood does, which would be good to use instead. Doing these things may bring the slightest inconvenience, but the animals will be so thankful. I don’t know what it'll be like using a wooden toothbrush, but it won’t matter. My inconvenience doesn't matter when it comes to saving a life.
There are lots of things we can do; instead of using plastic razors, switch to a metal handle, non-disposable one. Search for products that come in glass bottles instead of plastic, or even buy in bulk instead of packaged items. We can rely more on farmer’s markets and even grow our own food. Some decisions seem little, but they add up; when buying canned sodas, they come in six with a plastic holder. Why not buy 12 in a recyclable cardboard box instead?
There are so many alternatives. We don’t have to kill this planet or kill the animals on this planet. I am taking strides to change my life for this earth. If I'm going to live on it, I want it to be clean.
Isabel Stinson is a student at Richmond High School.