Children’s book empowers kids to reduce plastic waste

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Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center

Portland– The problem of plastic in the world’s ocean and its detrimental impact on marine wildlife has gained more attention in recent years. For the director of a local environmental non-profit, Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center, this provides a big opportunity to get people to connect the dots between the problem of plastic pollution and their own consumer habits. So, she decided to write a children’s book about it.

“Every day I read several books to my three-year-old daughter, and one night it just clicked that there should be a children’s book teaching kids about plastic pollution, so I decided to write one,” said Celeste Meiffren-Swango, Director of Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center and author of children’s book Myrtle the Turtle.

Myrtle the Turtle is about a young, adventurous sea turtle in the Pacific Ocean who mistakes a plastic bag for a jellyfish, and realizes she needs kids to help keep her ocean home safe and beautiful. 

Over decades, people have dumped millions of tons of plastic and other trash into the Pacific Ocean, creating an environmental disaster for wildlife. Scientists have found plastic fragments in hundreds of species, including 86 percent of all sea turtle species, 44 percent of all seabird species, and 43 percent of all marine mammal species. Plastic and other marine debris kills millions of these animals every year.

Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center has worked for several years on efforts to educate Oregonians on the impact of plastic pollution as part of their “Wildlife Over Waste” campaign.

“The impact of plastic pollution on wildlife, and marine wildlife in particular, is just devastating,” said Meiffren-Swango. “The good news is that there’s a lot you can do as an individual or a family to reduce your use of plastics, and we hope that Myrtle the Turtle will lead to kids and their grown-ups making changes to protect wildlife.”

Myrtle the Turtle is not yet available on store shelves. Environment Oregon & Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to publish the book and get it into the hands of kids across Oregon and beyond. Their goal is to raise $10,000 by January 20th. To read more about the project or to pledge your support, head over to their Kickstarter page.

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