The Pico Youth and Family Center (PYFC) recently partnered with the Plastic Oceans International (Plastic Oceans) to organize a rally and lobbying effort for a single-use plastic straw ban in Santa Monica, California.

With the guidance of Plastic Oceans, and with inspiration from the recent single-use plastic ban in Malibu, students from PYFC are taking great measures to ensure that Santa Monica will follow suite by banning plastic straws within the city. Efforts have included:

  • A four-week Social Justice & Mindfulness Summer camp that taught them the importance of advocacy through an approach that addressed: Awareness, Problem Solving & Solution Development, and Action Plan Development.
  • Active lobbying of City Hall and other public officials, including City Manager, Rick Cole.
  • Petitioning of local businesses to support a ban.
  • Organized a rally and march that took place on August 3.
The kids of the Pico Youth and Family Center

The kids of the Pico Youth & Family Center.

The kids at PYFC range in age from 7 to 13 years old. They have conducted their own research on the issue of plastic pollution in order to better understand the problem and possible solutions, so that they accurately inform local officials on why the ban is important.

“It is inspirational to see young students advocate for our present and future,” said Oscar De La Torre, Director of PYFC. “This is exactly the outcome we envisioned when we developed the concept of the Social Justice and Mindfulness summer camp.”

The students have been lobbying directly at City Hall and plan to meet with Mayor of Santa Monica, Ted Winterer, later this month.

“It’s amazing to watch these young people in action,” said Julie Andersen, Global Executive Director for Plastic Oceans. “ Their passion and desire to find solutions is what inspires our entire team.”

The students  marched through the streets of Santa Monica on August 3, drawing a crowd and great interest. They continue to advocate for a policy to ban plastic straws in the city. With the hope being to eventually see all forms of single-use plastic eliminated in the city of Santa Monica.