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 four-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.”

After a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to self-publish the book, Myrtle the Turtle is now printed and available for purchase online. To read more about the project and purchase or donate copies, head over to Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center’s online store.

All proceeds from the sale of Myrtle the Turtle go to Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center.