Dartmouth woman cycling for environmental awareness

By Mary Macedo | Sep 10, 2017
Courtesy of: savebuzzardsbay.org Ann Parson and her team Straws Suck will be cycling in the Watershed Ride to raise awareness for harmful plastics and to raise money for the Buzzards Bay Coalition.

The name of Dartmouth resident Ann Parson’s Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride team is a simple message about the overuse of plastic products: “Straws Suck.”

Parson has rallied about a dozen of her friends to bicycle throughout Buzzards Bay with her to raise awareness for the environment and the way plastics affects the earth and its creatures. They will ride on October 1 along a route through the communities that make up the bay, although most won’t be riding in the full 100-mile route from Sakonnet Point in Rhode Island to Woods Hole.

Instead, riders will be participating in other routes, including the 35-mile route, the 75-mile route, and the 100-mile route.

"We are all doing different distances," Parson said referring to her dozen Straws Suck team members. "Most of us will be doing the 35-mile route from Eastover Farm in Rochester to Woods Hole, where there's a party at the end."

In addition to a $50 registration fee, teams are required to fundraise a minimum of $300, but many aim to surpass that goal. Funds raised go to the Buzzards Bay Coalition for environmental awareness. Each team has a website to collect donations.

"A lot of people are backing our team because they realize plastics are a huge environmental issue," she said.

Parson's team name, “Straws Suck,” was a slogan started by the Surfrider Foundation, which began in California. The Straws Suck slogan was started as a campaign to eliminate plastic straws from businesses.

"500 million straws are used a day in this country alone," Parson said.

Parson said she is trying to spread the word that plastics like straws and grocery bags are not getting disposed of properly and eventually end up in the environment. These plastics take years to breakdown and only degrade into smaller pieces of plastic that end up out in the environment.

"Plastics take centuries to break down," Parson said. "Marine life end up ingesting them and many creatures die because of plastics in their stomach. We need to raise awareness to get a legislation in place to figure out ways to substitute other materials for the plastics we use daily.”

With Parson's third time cycling in the Watershed Ride, she hopes to spread the word of the Straws Suck campaign.

"Single use plastics like straws, bottles, and grocery bags are the biggest issue," she said. "Even toothbrushes."

Parson said plastic toothbrushes could easily be substituted and made out of wood instead, which would greatly help the environment.

"The ride is a great way to raise awareness," Parson said. "I got cool t-shirts made for my team with the Straws Suck slogan on the back."

Parson said that the Straws Suck campaign and the Buzzards Bay Coalition are great causes to raise awareness for as well as raise money for.

"The coalition is incredible," Parson said. "And I am very excited to help."

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