Tuesday, March 20, 2018

WITHOUT STRAWS, PLEASE (SIN POPOTES, POR FAVOR): When Will I Remember?

Maybe This Will Help...

I Created a Table Sign to Help Us When Ordering Drinks
     Jon and I have been trying to remember to order our drinks in restaurants “without straws” for years, and we still forget, over and over again. As soon as our drinks arrive (aqua de jamaica, orange juice, margaritas, etc.), straw inserted in glass, we exchange that “NOT AGAIN” look. How were we going to remember, short of tattooing it on my forehead?
Even with the Sign, We Forgot to Order Sin Popote
     We can remember to take our reusable grocery bags when we are going to shop for food and supplies. We can remember our cloth 6-pack wine bag when we are going to Licorería El Coyul to stock up on wine. We are very good at not using plastic bags. But we could not remember to order our drinks without straws, sin popotes. 
     I racked my brain for months to come up with a solution to train ourselves, and maybe even assist the restaurants in changing their policy about using straws. Finally, I created a friendly table sign, written in English and Spanish, that said “Sin Popotes Por Favor ☻Without a Straw Please”.
Printed on 4X6 Photo Paper, This Makes a Cute Tented Sign
     I figured that if I held two of these tented signs in my hand as we walked to the restaurant, then placed one on the table in front of each of us, either Jon or I would surely see it as we were ordering our drinks. If we didn’t see it, the waiter might.
     This has worked about fifty percent of the time, probably because the other fifty percent of the time the sign was in my purse and not in my hand. But the interesting thing is, just since I made these table signs, several times we have remembered to order drinks sin popote even when I have forgotten to put the signs on the table. There is hope! We are learning.

     So, what is the big deal about “No Straws”? Once you’ve seen this YouTube video of the person removing a straw from a sea turtle’s nostril, you will never forget the image.
     It is so sad how the plastic straws, plastic six-pack beer holders, plastic bags, and other plastic items have harmed sea creatures. These items wash or blow into our creeks and rivers and find their way to the ocean. They are discarded on the streets in beach towns like Sayulita, then as soon as it rains, they wash down the cobblestone roads, onto the beach, and into the ocean.
18 Straws I Picked Up in a Half Mile Walk One Day
     I have become obsessed with picking up straws and plastic beer can holders and putting them in our trash at home. There are few garbage cans along the streets in Sayulita to put them in and this is part of the reason they end up lying in the street. In one day, I picked up eighteen straws while I walked the half mile home from downtown Sayulita. How many straws must be lying in the streets all over town? How many straws are lying in streets in beach towns all over the world, poised to wash or blow into the ocean, possibly to end up in a sea animal's nostril or stomach. 

     When Campamento Tortuguero Sayulita releases baby turtles on the beach, I feel happy that I have done my part to help the turtles' chances of living healthy lives without plastic straws stuck in their nostrils. (Avoiding the use of plastic bags also helps lessen the chance these turtles will ingest a piece of plastic, believing it is a jellyfish.)
Baby Olive Ridley Turtles Being Released at Sunset
     We can all work together to help eliminate the use of plastic straws. Some restaurants in our town no longer offer straws. Some offer metal, reusable straws, though I am not a fan of this for sanitation reasons. Others provide paper or other biodegradable straws. The waiters at some restaurants are trained to ask the customer if they would like a straw and we always thank them for offering, and then we decline the straws.
     We have started a list of our preferred restaurants in Sayulita. It’s interesting that many of our favorite restaurants are owned and managed by people who care about their customers’ desires, as well as the environment, and have stopped using plastic straws. This is an example of an environmental cause where pressure from the people is having a positive effect. Thank you to every restaurant and person who declines to use straws, when possible.
     While there are circumstances when a straw is necessary, thank you for using care to dispose of it in the trash where it will not find its way to the ocean. Together, we are working toward a more green Sayulita and a more green world.

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Terry L. Turrell, Author
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3 comments:

  1. What a great idea about the sign! I couldn't bear to watch the turtle video, but I can imagine...so sad. I always pick up 4-pack and 6-pack rings when I'm walking, cut them up when I get home, and throw them in the trash. Don't see so many straws in Florida but the rings are ubiquitous. Good job!

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    1. Thanks, Emily! You are right, the plastic 6-pack rings are a terrible problem here, too. Thank you for all you do for the environment.
      Terry

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