The stories and images are heartbreaking. An albatross with a stomach full of plastic debris; a dead endangered turtle, its gut filled with plastic toys; a beached gray whale with more than 20 plastic bags, surgical gloves and pieces of plastic in its belly.
Plastic, like diamonds, are forever. As a plastic bag breaks down it fractures into toxic pieces, which contaminate the soil, water, and many animals’ food sources. Experts say plastic never completely breaks down. Plastic bags are one of the most common items of debris on coastlines and pose a serious threat for wildlife. Due to the volume of plastic bags in landfills and the resources needed to produce, transport and (occasionally) recycle them, the environmental threat is significant.
Bread for the Journey of Santa Cruz County, familiar with the imminent crisis of plastic pollution, provided Kendra Stone-Hinds a $500 grant to get the project started and fund giveaways at several local schools.
Kendra Stone-Hinds is on a mission to change how we think about plastics through grass roots awareness in our local schools. As a photographer, Kendra is passionate about using the power of imagery to inform school kids about alternatives to single use plastics. On March 29, 2013, she presented to kindergarten through 6th grade students at Mar Vista Elementary on the impact of using plastic and how to make better choices. Every student was invited to participate in a month long challenge to investigate with their families how they can reduce their plastic footprint. At the end of April, they will report back their results and a drawing for several cool prizes will be held. After the recently held assembly, one student commented, “I didn’t know it was so easy for sea life to mistake plastic for food. That seems kind of scary to me.” Proof that the process of awareness is already taking hold.