You may have read about some hardworking, smart, and civic-minded students who, back in 2011 and 2012, fought to keep their local river park open. Fought and won, actually. Well, students from that same school, Grass Valley Charter in Grass Valley, Calif., are now on to another battle — with the help of students from other area schools, they want to push Nevada County to put a ban on single-use plastic bags and start charging for paper bags. These kids are unstoppable.
They are starting their campaign in the county seat, Nevada City, and made their desires known at a Nevada City Council meeting on May 8 when several of them presented some rather sobering research they have done on the subject of single-use plastic bags. One kid talked about the Pacific gyres, massive globs of plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean, and the effect this was having on the health of the oceans in general and most acutely, on sea life. Another pointed out that Californians use 400 plastic bags every second. Another read a list of the 75 California communities that have already made similar proposed laws around single-use plastic bags and urged Nevada County to join them. Another posed the question, “Do you really want me to grow up in a world without sea turtles?” Who could say yes to that?
Allison Miller, a Nevada City resident who described herself as a “cheerleading adult” helping the student coalition, told Grist, “The Nevada City Council was very impressed with the kids, and I think they really drove home the point that pollution from plastic is a very important issue, one that is really affecting our well-being.” The group is on the agenda for May 28 for the Grass Valley City Council, and the Truckee City Council is also considering some legislation around this issue. “We (kids) can make a difference because we’ve done it before!” said third grader Callie Fellows. Callie, we have no reason not to believe you. And when you guys are done in Nevada County, we’ve got a few more counties we’d like you to come clean up.