Kids Against Fast Food Plastic
Ella, 7, and Caitlin, 9, started a petition asking McDonalds and Burger King to stop giving away plastic toys with kids meals. The petition has drawn more than 342,000 signatures, which indicates it has struck a chord. It feels entirely new, like nothing I’ve ever experienced as a child. I looked forward to the free toy in my Happy Meal. When I was a kid, I thought Happy Meals were awesome because they were specially created for kids. Buying a cheapy burger at the restaurant and getting a toy. The whole experience still has the same effect on me.
Organizer Rachael Wood and her daughters, Ella and Caitlin, have an online petition to point out that most children play with these toys for just a matter of minutes before they are discarded into landfills.
More than that, they went on to ask big, rich companies not to manufacture toys from plastic at all. In this BBC One episode they stacked up the toys that McDonalds distributes every five minutes across the UK –the number was enough to fill four flatbed trollies. Times that by 288, the number of 5 minutes in 24 hours, and that’s 1,152 flat bed trolleys. You can begin to see the problem.
During their door-to-door visit to McDonald’s headquarters, security asked them to leave the facility, and the girls were visibly distraught. McDonald’s took a meeting with the girls and has pledged to spend time and money making a plan to reduce its plastic use.
What a super brave duo Ella and Caitin, it takes guts to stand up for what you believe in. And they seem to be a barometer for what kids are thinking today. As I type, I have 3 x nine year olds and 1 x eight year old in my kitchen. When I told them I was writing this story, they unanimously without hesitation said this was a great idea. Within instants, they were logged into change.org and signing their names to the petition.
While I totally salute the sister’s initiative and support less consumerism and plastic throwaway toys. I wonder if this is the root of the problem or if it goes deeper.
Education is one thing, access to non-biodegradable plastic is another, but as long as there are parents who don’t have wallets full of cash, there will be people making immediately gratifying choices. Like getting your kid a cheap plastic throwaway toy because it brings a moment of joy. Because sometimes you do it because it’s all you’ve got.
So if it’s not McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, Poundland or imported from China no-name toxic toy… there will always be someone who sees a market opportunity.
And I think bringing a free toy to children who buy an inexpensive meal has in many ways been a massive achievement, that is has negative environmental repercussions today speaks more to the fact that we need to lift the world’s poor out of poverty. If we weren’t all so worried about keeping a roof over our head maybe we would have more time and space to develop ethical values that were inclusive and had global benefits.
UNICEF estimates half the world’s children (or 1.1 billion) live in poverty, which is extremely worrying.
What about making it easier to achieve a basic sense of wellbeing in society, from the stats above we can see that we are well on our way. Luckily, it’s not all bad news, since there have been gains. According to the World Bank, the number of people living in extreme poverty dropped from 1.75 billion in 1990 to 702.1 million in 2015.
Can we consider progress to be an achievement that does not interfere with people’s well-being and the planet’s?
I think the next generation have got it covered. I predict that in the future, future generations will find a way to degenerate waste or make things disappear – of course, there will also be some negatives to this, but that’s nature, isn’t it?– the yin and the yang.
If you want to inspire your children to further their journey towards changing the world, read on.
— check out the amazing Little Miss Flit AKA Mari Copeny.
In Flint, Michigan, she was at the forefront of the water crisis when it was discovered that the drinking water had dangerous levels of lead, which are causing people to itch and, if consumed, could kill you. The president came to Flint to meet Mari after she wrote a letter to him.
He gave $100 million to Flint to fix the lead pipes after hearing about how the water smelled like fish, feet, corn chips, and bleach, and everyone had to rely on bottled water.
We love that she says that kids need to see themselves as superheroes. If you let your imagination run free, you can achieve anything.Learn more about the amazing Mari Copeny here.