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Tom Brady Is the Latest Celebrity to Hop On the Anti-Straw Bandwagon

Celebrity environmental activism against straws only lends moral support to prohibitionist politicians.

To get your bogus environmental campaign off the ground you need three things: cute animals, cute kids, and star power. The movement to ban plastic straws has risen rapidly in prominence thanks to this holy trinity.

The outcry against straws started with a viral 2015 video of an admittedly adorable sea turtle with one stuck up its nose. The cause got a boost from 9-year-old Milo Cress, whose Be Straw Free campaign captured the public's imagination with the now-debunked claim that Americans use 500 million straws a day. Cress has been joined by youths like 10-year-old Molly Steer, who fronts the Australian group Straw No More.

The roster of celebrities telling you to suck less is also growing. For a couple of years, Entourage actor Adrian Grenier and his Lonely Whale foundation have been pushing straw bans in places such as Seattle and New York City. Yesterday he was now joined by New England Patriots quarterback and five-time Superbowl champion Tom Brady. In an Instagram video made for World Environment Day, Brady brandished two plastic straws, declaring that "the effect of these little guys is posing a huge health risk to our planet."

Fortunately, he tells us, there is an easy fix. "Next time you see a plastic straw like this, say, 'No, I'm not falling for your ruse, straw.'" In an accompanying post Brady urges British wildlife photographer David Yarrow and tennis star Serena Williams to join him in sucking less.

So far neither has publicly taken Brady up on his offer. That's a good thing.

These celebrity attacks on straws are at best a distraction from the real causes of the oceans' plastic problem. At worst they give cover to politicians looking to impose senseless liberty-crushing bans on the rest of us.

It cannot be stressed enough that plastic straws are a small part of American's plastic waste and that Americans themselves account for a tiny portion of the plastic in the oceans. Judging from coastal cleanups in Canada, California, and the U.K., plastic straws make up 2 percent to 4 percent of beach litter by item. They account for an even smaller portion of this waste when measured by weight.

Even if plastic straws were 100 percent of our plastic waste, banning them here, or in most any rich country, would do almost nothing to help the environment. That's because, as best we can tell, the vast majority of plastic waste entering the ocean comes from the poorer nations of the world, particularly in East Asia.

China alone accounts for about 28 percent of plastic pollution. Indonesia contributes another 10 percent. For the Philippines and Vietnam, it's about 6 percent each. The United States, by comparison, is responsible for less than 1 percent of global plastic marine waste. Roughly 2 percent comes from the European Union (including the U.K.).

Experts are split on whether rich countries should pursue plastic straw bans, but they agree that such laws will do almost nothing to solve the problem of plastic marine waste. The major sources of plastic pollution are rich enough to use a lot of plastics but lag behind in their waste collection capacity, leaving more litter to wind up in the oceans. If celebrities really wanted to have an impact on this problem, they would focus their attention on those countries.

Telling brown people to pick up their trash, of course, does not look as good as hectoring white people in rich countries to give up something that a good portion of the population views as frivolous. That's why environmentally woke celebrities are focusing their fire on plastic straws, dragging ban-happy lawmakers, from California and New York to Vancouver and Europe, along with them.

Photo Credit: CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS/Newscom

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  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Maybe if it was Giselle asking.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    I wouldn't want her to suck less.

  • esteve7||

    What is a Giselle?

  • Hugh Akston||

    A Giselle is any antelope of the genus gazella, which live in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, with the Indian Giselle or Chinkara also ranging into India. They have slender builds, long legs, and black symmetrical horns anywhere from a foot to more than a meter in length.

  • DenverJ||

    A ballet

  • Liberty Lover||

    The real question is does Giselle suck (on straws) with Tom?

  • Libertymike||

    This is just one more reason why I prefer Peyton - he's a lot more likeable.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    This. Brady always has struck me as far too self important and serious all the time with the personality of a turnip whereas Peyton at least has a sense of humor. And the worst thing Peyton ever did was try to get me to buy shitty pizza, not hector me about straws.

  • Hugh Akston||

  • Libertymike||

    That there incident was sports talk fodder for weeks up here.

  • Libertymike||

    CA, Peyton has the self-deprecatory thing going for him. He has no problem playing Don Rickles on himself.

    Take the Nationwide commercial which aired last fall / winter, particularly the ones with Brad Paisley. I laughed each and every time I saw them - and they were aired quite a bit during football games.

    Another thing: I think Gizelle is a skank.

  • Lowdog||

    Don't know about a skank, but she is not that pretty in my eyes. Def horse face. Not that I would kick her out of bed, but then, I'm easy.

  • libertynugget||

    I picture Peyton in his hot tub drinking a daiquiri with like 10 straws in it singing:
    "Tom Brady is a Giant Douche" (the nation wide jingle)...

    Why anyone gives two damns about what celebrities think is confounding to me.

  • FlameCCT||

    ^^^ LMAO

  • JFree||

    Plastic straws are pretty much the only way to prosperity for much of the world's poor. Whereas rich people only use straws to stick them up turtle's noses.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Or in a pinch, up their own noses, when there are no hundred dollar bills around.

  • HGW xx/7||

    Peak straw, folks! I told you we'd live to see it! Head for the hills!

    I'm sure our resident lefties will tell us how with star after star on their side, they'll get their way. Since their fuckin-love-of-science isn't backing their quest, willing dupes like Brady will do the heavy lifting!

  • Nardz||

    I used a plastic straw today.
    TAKE THAT TOM BRADY! FUCK YOU, TOM BRADY!

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    China alone accounts for about 28 percent of plastic pollution. Indonesia contributes another 10 percent. For the Philippines and Vietnam, it's about 6 percent each. The United States, by comparison, is responsible for less than 1 percent of global plastic marine waste. Roughly 2 percent comes from the European Union (including the U.K.).

    Remember this whenever someone screeches about how Trump pulling out of the Paris Accords doomed the planet to destruction.

  • HGW xx/7||

    You're not taking into account the "privilege" deductions. We're white, capitalists, etc. You throw those in and our trash is actually more garbage-y than theirs. After all, China is the world leader in environmentalism.

    I've literally heard that last line verbatim from a few folks. Rather telling.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Who could have expected that environmentalism came with so many smog-filled cities?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    China is the world leader in environmentalism.

    To the extent that's true - and I'm not saying it is, at all - it's probably because they have the biggest mess to clean up.

  • gormadoc||

    'No, I'm not falling for your ruse, straw.'

    I'm going to say this all the fucking time. This is an amazing line.

  • gormadoc||

    Telling brown people to pick up their trash, of course, does not look as good as hectoring white people...

    Okay, that's a good one too.

  • DenverJ||

    I was coming here to compliment the author for this line.

  • Oli||

    Sorry I have to tell you, but sticking straw into animals is a very old Christian tradition, as evidenced by:
    "So the man entered the house. Then Laban unloaded the camels, and he gave straw and feed to the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him." (Genesis 24:32)

    And I'm not going to let Obummer take away my God-given straws!

  • Eidde||

    And they're an essential element in building bricks.

  • Rat on a train||

    Thus says Pharaoh: 'I am not giving you straw.'
    - Exodus 5:10

    Let my people go!

  • gaoxiaen||

    California's cracking down on the foot-washing thing.

  • Jerryskids||

    I can't believe the Brady/straw connection hasn't yet led to a reference to both sucking and blowing!

  • Eidde||

    What a letdown.

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    But what does Lou Reed have to say about this?

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side?

  • gaoxiaen||

    Too Vicious.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Experts are split on whether rich countries should pursue plastic straw bans, but they agree that such laws will do almost nothing to solve the problem of plastic marine waste.

    Doesn't matter if it does anything, all that matters is do the "right kind of people" have another excuse to pat themselves on the back for their wokeness and sniff their own farts.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Doesn't matter that there is little or no connection between the use of plastic straws in this country and the pollution of the oceans by plastics (even assuming that is a crisis), or telling brown people to pick up their trash -- it is the new liberal cause du jour (they cannot get through a week without launching some new campaign) and that means "something must be done" even though nobody can really say what or why.

  • esteve7||

    because they have no meanings in their lives and would be better served reason Jordan Peterson then going from one fad crusade a week to another.

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    "These celebrity attacks on straws are at best a distraction from the real causes of the oceans' plastic problem. At worst they give cover to politicians looking to impose senseless liberty-crushing bans on the rest of us."

    OMG- The Britches gets it.

  • ||

    Does anyone think about scale and perspective anymore?

    "Brady brandished two plastic straws, declaring that "the effect of these little guys is posing a huge health risk to our planet."

    Does anyone realize how retarded that sounds?

    I'll be sure to buy a pack of straws next time I'm at the grocery store.

    Bunch of hysterical know-nothing busy bodies.

  • ||

    By the way, they're out to eventually ban plastics.

    Because retard.

    Buckle up buckaroos.

  • Rich||

    Telling brown people to pick up their trash, of course, does not look as good as hectoring white people in rich countries to give up something that a good portion of the population views as frivolous actually *forcing* them to pick up their trash.

  • Rich||

  • HGW xx/7||

    The Plastic Assholes would be an exceptional band name. I'm thinking a fusion of thrash-metal and bluegrass?

  • Rat on a train||

    Punk covers of New Wave.

  • jdgalt1||

    I predict that the food industry will find, or already has found, some way to make "natural" straws, perhaps out of actual straw, or bamboo or something. And they will be worse for the environment, but large companies such as McDonalds will quickly adopt them in place of plastic because the morons who make up the enviro movement will demand it.

  • Hugh Akston||

    These celebrity attacks on straws are at best a distraction from the real causes of the oceans' plastic problem. At worst they give cover to politicians looking to impose senseless liberty-crushing bans on the rest of us.

    You might say Tom Brady is...

    dons sunglasses

    ...taking on a strawman

  • ||

    I never cared about the Patriots but now I have a reason to root against Brady.

    Whenever someone lends their name to a cause that amounts to little but crushes liberty, they deserve to be chastised and in his case, rooted against.

    Go sack Brady! For freedom!

  • Curly4||

    That is great! But Tom Brady does not want to use plastic straws then he should not but who is Tom Brady to tell anyone else if they can or not?

  • lap83||

    "the effect of these little guys is posing a huge health risk to our planet."

    Then use something else to deflate your football and leave the rest of us alone. Geez

  • Rockabilly||

    I like straws, they useful for sniffing the cocaine

  • Hugh Akston||

    Uh, isn't that what rolled up dollar bills are for?

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    I never carry cash.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I don't understand the issue here. Brady isn't saying that he wants a ban on plastic straws. Brady has just as much right to advocate for a voluntary reduction in plastic straw use as I have a right to use plastic straws.

    The cause may be dumb and Brady may otherwise be a douche, but this isn't a liberty issue specifically.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I should add that if you're authoritarian legislators ban straws then take it up with them. Libertarians should prefer activism that seeks to educate and allow people to make their own decisions.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    *your... Duck you in the apse autocorrect.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    "I don't understand the issue here."

    It appears a lot of people think Brady is a dick.

  • NoVaNick||

    He's trying to be relevant again after he lost to the Eagles, or is trying to make up for his Trump endorsement.

  • JoeBlow123||

    Agreed. Brady is allowed to have his opinion. It is not like it is an unreasonable or stupid one either, it is just asking people to not use something they probably don't need anyways.

  • NoVaNick||

    If one day you waking up thinking that the most important problem in the universe is plastic straws, or flavored tobacco/vape, or bottled water, you seriously need to question whether or not YOU have any more reason to exist.

  • Cy||

    +1

  • Pat001||

    The thought of polar bears choking on plastic straws is one of the things that keeps Sec Def James N. Mattis up at night.

  • Tony||

    But how big of a problem is it really to teach children to drink from their cups properly at an earlier age? Or use sippy cups longer? For those few adults who need to use straws--the quadriplegics and such--perhaps their loved ones could provide them with lovely reusable straws made of silver or jade or whatever.

    Lots of coverage of the great straw controversy here. If I followed the money, which Koch is the one who went off on straws? The one going senile?

  • Sevo||

    Tony|6.7.18 @ 11:10PM|#
    "But how big of a problem is it really to teach children to drink from their cups properly at an earlier age?"

    How big of a problem can it be to tell a fucking lefty ignoramus (s)he has no business telling anyone else what to do?
    Well, not too big:
    Fuck off, idiot.

  • Tony||

    "You can't tell me what to do!"

    The cry of the adult straw user.

  • Cy||

    Straws are recommended for everyone by dentists to prevent staining their teeth. Also, women use straws quite frequently to prevent messing up their lipstick.

    Furthermore, the vast majority of 'straws' that everyone is talking about are the little tiny ones that get used for a split second before being placed directly into the recycle bin at the millions of coffee kiosks in almost every single business in the United States.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Advocacy of hot button political topics are very often precursors to attempting to get legislation passed. If given the opportunity, Brady would no doubt speak before a congressional hearing about plastic straws and try to get government to implement his message.

    By analogy, when Trump was complaining about the national anthem, and the Trumpites were defending his right to freely voice his opinion, nobody was really acknowledging that he was subtly (or maybe not so subtly) implying that government maneuvering was next on the agenda. As has become recently evident, he used his power to ultimately get his way. Brady has a shitload of money, a shitload of fame, and a shitload of influence. He needs to be careful with his next steps.

  • Sevo||

    jdgalt1|6.7.18 @ 7:10PM|#
    "I predict that the food industry will find, or already has found, some way to make "natural" straws, perhaps out of actual straw, or bamboo or something. And they will be worse for the environment, but large companies such as McDonalds will quickly adopt them in place of plastic because the morons who make up the enviro movement will demand it."

    Pretty sure after Mikey D's was forced to abandon plastic containers for the burgers it was quickly shown that the 'enviro footprint' of the cardboard packs were far worse.
    Which data was promptly ignored by the legacy press and the watermellons, since brown cardboard is just so much more 'green'!
    Paper straws disintegrate, so multiples substitute for one, suggesting the actual result is worse. Until someone (as they did with the food packaging) comes up with a way of plastic-coating the "paper" straws!
    Problemsolved, at the cost of thousands of broken windows.

  • Tony||

    I think the environmental community including the EPA (or what the EPA used to be) recommends not using either paper or plastic. The adult community has it easy on this one, what with straws being for children.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    How do you eat a milkshake Tony?

  • Tony||

    My straw reaches acroooooooss the room and starts to drink your milkshake. I... drink... your... milkshake!

  • Anna Clare||

    Back when I was in grade school the environment crisis du jour was Global Cooling. We were headed for an Ice Age and needed to Save the Rain Forests. Being a good 1st grader, I diligently copied down the words my teachers wrote on the blackboard "creating" a letter begging McDonalds to stop using forest-killing paper wrappers and instead use this new, environmentally friendly invention -- Styrofoam containers.

    So, when Global Warning became the current cause celebre, I just thought, "Cool, we fixed Global Cooling".

    The solution has become the next problem.

    If we "fix" Global Warming, will the next generation be fighting Global Cooling? Because there has to be a next crisis. Otherwise how will the woke people show they are better than the rest of us? How will their lives have purpose without a Cause.

    We shouldn't use plastic. We should use "plastic substitutes". But we have the capacity to recycle plastic, but not plastic substitutes. And we have our next crisis all lined up.

    Oh, and don't stick your straw in a turtle's nose.

  • Josh The Radio Dude||

    I think I'll buy a few cases of plastic straws with my next paycheck, just to spite this cheating crybaby.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    It's Heinlein's Crazy Years, we just live in them.

  • General_Tso||

    Oh Tom. You're my man crush, but please stop parroting Yoko Bundchen.

  • josh||

    His wife asked. And when she's a supermodel, you don't say no.

  • drisco304||

    See, the current environmental movement has us talking to plastic straws. What next?

  • Pat001||

    The plastic crisis will solve itself because the Earth is flat and all the plastic floating in the ocean will eventually drift to the edge and drop off.

  • ||

    Reading the article, it sounds like getting Americans to give up drinking straws is no more helpful to the environment than a person on a ship taking on water using a teaspoon to toss one teaspoon of water overboard and sitting back is to saving the ship.

  • Lester224||

    I agree that banning straws won't do very much to decrease plastic in the oceans. On the other hand straws are not necessary for in-restaurant drinking unless you are under 4 and can't handle putting a cup to your mouth. They are handy if you're taking your drink to go.

  • texexpatriate||

    Is this essay serious or a joke? It is hard to tell. When a writer uses words and phrases such as, "That's why environmentally woke celebrities are focusing their fire on plastic straws, etc.," a reader must lean in the direction of joke. Would it matter if the sentence read, "When environmentally awakened celebrities . . ."? I don't think so. I believe lawnmowers, tractors, cars, trucks, and planes are far more serious causes of pollution. Someone worrying over and writing about plastic straws cannot be taken seriously.

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