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Ten year old Venice activist educates adults on ocean pollution, recycling

Written by on Saturday, August 5, 2023

A recent Venice City Council meeting featured a ten year old activist, there to remind the adults what they can do to recycle plastic bags.

By Ramon Lopez

Original Air Date: August 4, 2023


Official Transcript

Johannes Werner: Reporter Ramon Lopez was at a Venice City Council meeting recently when he got to know an unusual 10 year old. The activist reminded adults what it should be all about. Here’s Ramon’s story.

Host: The Venice City Council is accustomed to handing out good citizen awards, approving sewer projects and voting on zoning amendments on a regular basis, but it recently got an earful from Venice resident Reese Erwin on how best to save our sea creatures. Venice Mayor Nick Pachota introduced the 10 year old caped crusader.

Nick Pachota: She’s on a mission to reuse and reduce the use of single-use plastic. So she’s going to present to Council today and help educate the public on what her mission is and what the benefits are to all of us.

Reese Erwin: Hi everyone, I’m Reese Erwin, I’m 10 years old, and I have a passion for saving our oceans. The reason why I’m here today is to spread awareness on the negative effects that plastic bags have on our oceans. The charity of my choice is Mote Marine. They just help educate the public and help amazingly with helping our sea animals recover.

This year for part of my community service, I created my own platform called Reuse With Reese. Reuse With Reese helps educate the public on reusing plastic bags, and using reusable bags at the grocery store.

Here are a few facts: fish and sea turtles eat tons of plastic every year, and sea turtles cannot tell the difference between jellyfish in a plastic bag. 87% of the plastic produced every year in the U.S. never gets recycled. It takes 1,000 years for plastic bag to break down. And we can help by reusing bags for your wet swimsuits, lining trash cans, picking up after your dog and using it for a trash can in your car.

One of the competitions I’m competing in is called the Spokesmodel Competition. It’s a speech about something that I’m passionate about. I want to share my speech with you today, and I hope you learn something new. After my speech, I will pass out bookmarks with some ways to reuse a plastic bag, and your very own reusable grocery bag.

I would love for you all to take a pledge to reuse with me, and do your best to help save our ocean friends. Every year, millions of tons of plastic ends up in our oceans and are mistaken for food by marine animals, causing injury and sometimes death. Every plastic container rinsed and reused is one less container that could end up in our oceans.

Join the BYOS club and bring your own straw. Metal reusable straws are healthier for you and our sea friends. And finally, if you brought it with you, bring it back with you. By disposing of trash properly, we’re doing what’s right for our environment under the sea. It is so easy to help take care of our sea creatures. Grab a few friends, and of course, your sunscreen, and make a day of enjoying the beach, collecting shells, and have a contest to see who can collect the most trash bags.

Or, donate to your local sea aquarium. They do fabulous work on taking care of injured sea creatures and educating the public. By making these small changes, we can still soak up all the Florida fun while making sure our sea friends can enjoy their homes too.

Here are just a few changes that would like to see: more paper bags, especially in our downtown shops and farmers market; continuing to raise money for Mote Marine; and spread awareness on the negative effect that plastic bags have in our oceans. [Applause]

Host: WSLR News asked Reese Erwin when she first got interested in environmental issues.

RE: Ever since we moved down here to Venice, we got to live closer to the beach. I got to learn a lot more, and go to Mote Marine more often. And I got to see, just the amazing animals that we have down here, and come help. I thought it was quite interesting.

Host: This is Ramon Lopez for WSLR News.


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