Prune ponders spark that ignited the plastic straw revolt


The Prune enjoys a beverage at Sassafras Coffee Shop with a paper straw and a clean conscience. submitted photos

by Todd Sharp

I’ve been speculating on the origins of inspirational ideas. These sparks hopefully flame up into full-fledged organized plans put into motion. Plans to be arranged into a full campfire blaze of forward movement, growing and flourishing into a glorious bonfire of brilliance, and the world changes.

Idea-sparks come in many places: late at night before bed, in the shower, exercising, bike riding, talking to new people, sharing a beer with old friends, driving, listening to the radio, all kinds of relaxed, contemplative situations, all kinds of sparks.

Like fireflies on a hot summer night, ideas are so many bits of light that first appear mixed up and unorganized. They flare up bright and clearly, sometimes quickly fading into the matrix of all the other background thoughts and ideas, other times beautifully twisting together into metamorphic fuses ready to be lit.

How do millions of messages pile up on our brains but then there is one which causes enough energy to create action to make change?

I wanted to follow a single thought to action.

Like how on earth has the “plastic straw” sucked up so much of our attention this summer?

Has the paper industry rekindled a magic bolt of inspirational lightning and changed public perception in the competitive straw industry?

Did everyone just get fed up with plastic straws washing up on beaches?

Was it the turtle video?

Did it take major corporations to proclaim their “new” clean approach and announce it to the world?

Or was it a self-aware individual sitting in a coffee shop saying, “No, I’m not going to get a straw to drink my iced raspberry mocha today”?

The paper-straw revolution has now quickly became a rallying cry of many people to stand up and proclaim their strong belief that straws have long been the diabolic cause of worldwide pollutants.

I first saw public disdain for plastic straws growing in London when they were banned in some restaurants. This message has very quickly spread and been reinforced with previous ideas of pollution, overcrowding and wondering: Where does all our waste go?

A perfect example of one individual active spark impacting a worldwide change, bringing together a billion people to choose a paper straw instead of a plastic straw.

The marvelous idea of ridding the world of billions of plastic straws makes perfect sense has hit Green Lake, Wis.

Locally we are thinking about daily activities and how billions of people making one simple change in behaviour can ignite action for the good of our planet.

There are many choices and opportunities to get threads of wicks braided together preparing for a potential flare. What’s next?

Plastic bags?

Equal rights?

Editor’s note: Todd Sharp is a paper-straw revolutionary when not selling advertising for the Green Laker, Express and The Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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