Here’s a quick roundup of efforts at the national and international level to clean up our oceans and address climate change.

–The city of Sarasota stopped short of banning plastic straws, commissioners did ban single-use polystyrene products in public places. All eyes are on a bill in the Florida Legislature, which would make it illegal for local governments to ban plastic straws.

— Plastics continue to pose a major threat to the health of the oceans, with sea creatures and birds dying from ingesting foreign objects. A whale in The Philippines was found to have nearly 90 pounds of plastic in its gut. It’s clear that more needs to be done to address this global crisis. By 2050, some experts predict there will be more plastics in the oceans than fish, by weight.

— The United Nations released a dire report on climate change, stating that we have a limited time to act: “While nations have now stepped up to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Accord, the new UN requested report makes it abundantly clear that we must do more.”

— Efforts by volunteers to clean up our oceans and our shorelines are one of the few bright spots. When individuals work together, it makes a major impact on the environment. Surfers Against Sewage is calling on all of us wherever we live, to help our oceans individually or through organized cleanups, according to a report in the Guardian.

— Corporate initiatives to harness the power of volunteers, like the recent cleanup in Sarasota County sponsored by 4Ocean and Tervis, are a wave of the future. In March, a record 1,300 volunteers hit America’s No. 1 Beach, to clean up the shoreline. According to 4Ocean, here’s what was removed from Siesta Key Public Beach and the surrounding private beaches:

144 plastic straws
187 plastic utensils
234 plastic and styrofoam cups
355 plastic bags
463 plastic bottles
1,345 plastic bottle caps
5,877 cigarette butts.

This instagram photo shows plastic straws and other trash collected during a cleanup of Venice Beach in March. [PHOTO / ALLARD PPC]