AMAZING: Eighth-Grader Convinces Entire School To Skip SeaWorld

If you've never seen "Blackfish," the documentary exposing the alarming history and practices SeaWorld employs, you really should! This middle-schooler did, and she put her knowledge to use. Melissa Cronin of The Dodo graciously allowed us to republish her article about it in its entirety. What you're about to read is super-inspiring!

The annual “winterim” trip to San Diego taken by the seventh and eighth graders at Alexander Dawson School in Lafayette, Colo., will be missing one element this year. The students will no longer be visiting SeaWorld, thanks to the efforts of one intrepid eighth grader named Phoebe Goldstein.


Goldstein, a longtime opponent of whale and dolphin captivity, had heard of other schools nearby that took field trips to the marine park. When she heard that her own school was planning a trip, she was shocked — and driven to action.

“As soon as I heard about this, I immediately contacted my mom and told her how upset I was,” Goldstein told The Dodo. “I just knew I could not let my school go to SeaWorld.”

Goldstein immediately contacted the head of her school and the trip’s organizer.

“We discussed how our school wouldn't benefit by going to SeaWorld and supporting this atrocious issue,” she said. “We also discussed how there might be other amazing activities to do on this trip instead of going to SeaWorld.”

Soon enough, it was a victory for Goldstein. After a few meetings with administrators during which she illuminated the issues associated with cetacean (whale and dolphin) captivity, the trip’s organizers agreed to forego SeaWorld and replace it with a different activity. “I was so happy and I felt like I have actually make an impact on Dawson School,” said Goldstein.

Dawson School's Middle School Director, Heather Mock, told The Dodo in an email:

"As part of Dawson's vision to help our students meet real-world challenges, we strive to support students who want to advocate for personal passions, whether that is protecting marine mammals or delivering malaria nets. Phoebe is another great example of that Dawson tradition, and we are proud of her efforts."

Goldstein isn’t the only student to pressure their school to skip the field trips to SeaWorld. One San Diego student launched a petition against holding prom at SeaWorld that gained over 2,000 signatures. And one school in Malibu, Calif. cancelled their overnight trip to the park last December after a 10-year-old student begged fellow students and administration to do so. The girl had seen “Blackfish” and didn’t want her school to support orca whale captivity. She was quoted as saying at the time, “I never want to go to SeaWorld again."

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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

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WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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