Fourth Grade Class Urges Palm Springs City Council to “Skip the Straw”

Daytona Everett

A group of concerned fourth graders wrote a letter to Palm Springs City Council asking them to ban single-use plastic straws. Council members and the sustainability committee responded to the kids’ call to action by visiting their classroom at Desert Learning Academy on Wednesday.

“The problem is we have been killing our sea turtles and have not been caring, but we need to start,” that statement coming from a public service announcement created by Maxwell Oliver, a four grade student, demanding a change.

“People are trashing our world and we’re not doing anything about it,” Oliver said.

Pictures and facts cover the classroom about the harm of plastic straws: Using a reusable straw can save thousands of plastic straws from polluting landfills and oceans. Right now, the U.S. uses enough straws to wrap around the earth’s circumference 2.5 times a day.

The fourth-graders are stepping up to the plate by initiating direct action against the use of plastic and Styrofoam products as they further research the topic in class.

“We’ve tested the straws, if they biodegrade or if they don’t,” Delaney Boynton, another student, said. “We’ve also done the cost comparisons and we talked to the city council.”

“When you see that their voices can make change, I couldn’t ask for anything more as a teacher,” Lynn Yada, the teacher, said.

Oliver said he thinks his presentation went well, “I think that everyone will start making a change for the sea turtles and other creatures.”

“The students are petitioning us to make some changes and I’m excited to review this with the city council and see what we can do,” Palm Springs City Councilwoman Christy Holstege said.

The sustainability commission is bringing the student’s recommendations forward at their next meeting, Holstege said. The kids will visit a new restaurant on Sunrise every month to urge them against using plastic or Styrofoam products.


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