On Saturday, February 25th, four Surfrider Chicago members attended nonprofit Lonely Whale’s panel discussion on "Our Urban Ocean Love Story." The Lonely Whale foundation was born out of a documentary focused on a singular whale who sings at a frequency unrecognized by other whales leading experts to believe that it lives alone, calling out to no response. The foundation poses the question, "Why does the Lonely Whale need us?" And we all know the answer – from ocean noise and plastic pollution to acidification and overfishing, humans do terrible things to our waterways and this foundation in alignment with many others, including Surfrider, hope to make a positive change.
This panel discussion at the SoHo House in the West Loop featured some of Chicago’s heaviest hitters from the Academy for Global Citizenship, Shedd Aquarium, Impact Engine, Common Ground Foundation and the Hip Hop Caucus. The talk focused on what these non-profits do for children, young adults and adults in the greater Chicago area to bring awareness and change to our environment and how we can all work together to help protect 20% of the world’s fresh water, the Great Lakes.
One small change that the Lonely Whale is focused on is removing 500 million plastic drinking straws and replacing them with paper straws. By the way, did you know that 500 million plastic straws are used EVERY DAY in the United States? This amount of straws would fill over 125 school buses – that’s 46,400 school buses EVERY YEAR full of plastic straws – WE CAN DO BETTER!
We’ve already started sharing ideas on collaboration and we can’t wait to get some activities on the books with the phenomenal individuals and organizations we met this weekend.