THE LAST STRAW

MEET MILO CRESS WHOSE ‘BE STRAW-FREE’ CAMPAIGN INFLUENCED THE WORLD’S PLASTIC USE

MILO CRESS

FEATURED IN THE YVFP FILM ‘THE LAST STRAW’

In the award-winning short film, ‘The Last Straw’ we see 9-year-old Milo Cress concerned about the millions of straws that pollute waterways, waste fossil fuel and harm ocean creatures. He contacts straw manufacturers to ask for straw production estimates and comes away with a now widely quoted estimated of 500 million straws used each day! He convinces restaurants to “go straw-free,” addresses Congress, and is championed by international media. Milo’s actions inspire Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to declare a Straw Free Day (June 11th) and ignites other young changemakers to take up the cause.

The ‘The Last Straw’ is one of thirteen Young Voices for the Planet (YVFP) films produced by Lynne Cherry documenting youth solutions to the climate crisis and other environmental and social justice issues.

Since making the film, YVFP has followed Milo’s progress in advocating for smarter straw use as he travels around the world speaking to students, community leaders and the media, and inspiring other organizations to take up the gauntlet and promote his idea of “offer first” (offering versus automatically handing out straws). As is shown in the YVFP film, Milo’s campaign inspires children worldwide to advocate for reducing the number of straws used by their local eating establishments. The United States’ National Restaurant Association recognized Milo’s “offer-first” policy as a best practice and several chain restaurants and cafes, including Red Lobster and Starbucks enacted it. Milo’s work has influenced straw use around the world as well, particularly in New South Wales, Australia, Canada, and South Korea and Japan, where he is mentioned in school textbooks.

Milo has won the coveted Blue Turtle Award from Jean-Michel Cousteau, the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, the Everyday Young Hero Award, from Youth Service America, the Eco-Hero Award from Action for Nature and several other awards and recognitions.

Milo is now 19 and a computer science major at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Turning his focus to the ethics surrounding artificial intelligence, Milo joined Vermont’s AI Task Force, the first state-led initiative of its kind in the nation. Eco-Cycle, a leading recycler and advocate for zero waste communities in Colorado, currently hosts and promotes the Be Straw Free campaign.

The YVFP film “The Last Straw ” won the ‘Portraits of Individuals’ award at the My Hero’s International Film Festival (2018) and was part of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival On Tour Program (2017). It is included in the online library of PBS Learning Media and NOAA’s Teaching Climate Resources.

To inquire about collaborating with Young Voices for the Planet, or to invite Milo to appear at your event virtually, please fill out this Program Interest Form below.

My Hero International Film Festival Award for YVFP Film, The Last Straw, with Milo Cress
YVFP - Words Have Power Film On Tour with Wild & Scenic Film Festival
YVFP The Last Straw, Milo Cress' Testimony
Eco-Cycle Logo

MILO’S ADVOCACY

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, INTERVIEWS & CAMPAIGNS

MILO’S ADVOCACY

IN THE NEWS

NPR – Environment
One Child’s Outsized Influence On The Debate Over Plastic Straws
By Cecilia Lei & Korva Coleman

The New York Times
How a 9-Year-Old Boy’s Statistic Shaped a Debate on Straws
By Niraj Chokshi

The Daily Beast – Starting Young
This Kid Single-Handedly Ignited the Plastic Straw Ban Movement
By Tanya Basu

Money – Environment
No One Knew How Many Plastic Straws Americans Use Every Day. Then a 9-Year-Old Kid Did the Math
By Alix Langone

USA Today — Nation Now
That Anti-Straw Movement? It’s All Based on One 9-Year-Old’s Suspect Statistic
By Alex Connor

Waste 360
The Kid Behind ‘500 Million Plastic Straws’ a Day
By Waste360 Staff

CNN
The Last Straw: Is Time Up For This Plastic Relic?
By Jacopo Prisco

Guardian
‘People Need Them’: The Trouble With the Movement to Ban Plastic Straws
By Vivian Ho

University of Rhode Island – Digital Commons @URI
A Pilot Qualitative Evaluation: Youth Perception on Plastic Straws Before and After Education Intervention
2019 Open Access Master’s Theses by Elizabeth Smith

‘THE LAST STRAW’ YVFP FILM

IN THE NEWS

Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Interview with Lynne Cherry, Filmmaker/Producer
Host: Elise Parker

The Falmouth Enterprise
Skip The Straw Campaign Comes To Falmouth
By Andrea F. Carter

Sustainability Superheros Blog
23 Days ‘Til the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day: The Last Straw