The children wanted to educate Monroe families and the community beyond about the short- and long-term effects of single use plastic bags, such as killing marine life who mistake plastic bags for jellyfish or another sea animals; the amount of carbon pollution released into the atmosphere during the creation of the bags; and the fact that it takes approximately 400+ years for a plastic bag to biodegrade.
The students took action by designing and having 250 reusable grocery bags manufactured to sell to the Monroe community and the community at large. They have sold 51 bags and have 199 more to go. The bags are priced at $3 each and profits from the sale (students hope to clear $100) will go to purchase an acre of land in the Amazon Rainforest to protect it forever from destruction.
Student Calliope Rosner said, “The fourth grade group had a lot of fun designing and selling the bags. We have already sold over 50 bags! I feel like we are making a big difference.” Gwen Samora added, “We are selling the reusable bags to try to get people to stop using plastic bags that pollute the ocean. With the profits we earn from selling the bags, we are also saving some of the rainforest forever”.
With the profits, an acre of land will be purchased through the World Land Trust, an international conservation organization that takes action to save the world’s rainforests. Students are excited about being able to choose which rainforest will benefit from their efforts: Amazon or perhaps Central America.
Students feel that this an especially timely project, locally, as the Santa Barbara City Council is in the process of deciding whether to ban the use of plastic bags at grocery stores.
These distinct blue-and-white bags, which include student artwork, are available for sale at the Principal’s Office, Monroe Elementary School, 431 Flora Vista Drive, Santa Barbara, CA.