Town Haul Podcast | Episode 9

  • Host: Amy Koonin (Rubicon)
  • Guest: Emma Riley (Director of Strategic Partnerships at Lonely Whale)
  • Listen Here!

You may have heard of the viral #StopSucking or Strawless in Seattle campaigns. What do these campaigns mean? They aimed to eliminate the single-use plastic straw–and they were crafted by Lonely Whale. Lonely Whale is an incubator dedicated to ocean health (and it was co-founded by Adrian Grenier!).

Amy Koonin discussed ocean conservation, plastic, and pasta with Emma Riley, Lonely Whale’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, in this episode of The Town Haul.  

On how Riley became passionate about ocean conservation:

RILEY: “Growing up on the coast of California, I was exposed to ocean conservation and ocean health at a very young age. My parents took me to Stinson Beach, just above San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, just below from before I was born, in the womb. So, I’ve been interested in supporting the development of solutions for issues that are plaguing our seas, really since I was kind of a young girl.

And through my background in entertainment development media strategy, I found a really healthy place with Lonely Whale and applied sort of that work to furthering the attention to ocean conservation issues.”

On why the famous Strawless in Seattle Campaign worked:

RILEY: “The reason why we were able to run it in a way in which it was impactful and it was successful and it was edible, right? It became so edible for a national and international audience because we said, “Well, yep. Paper straws are the alternative.” Easy as that.

It’s the same price as a plastic straw, we’ll have it to you the day you order it or the next few days or within the week, and so there’s no reason not to. Your neighbors are doing it, Russell Wilson is championing it. The Mariners love it, why wouldn’t you do this? You have a solution at hand. And that ethos is definitely an ethos that we apply to really all of our work, but very specifically our impact campaigning work.”

On how small businesses can get involved with World Oceans Day:

RILEY: “I would say look to your local community leaders. It’s become so well-known that most cities, most states independently celebrate it, which is wonderful. And I would also say that if your city, if your local leaders aren’t aware of it, aren’t aware of the day, aren’t aware of the importance of driving awareness to the ocean and unifying the community, at one point within a global celebration, it’s your opportunity to create something new and ask them to and sit with them in developing what that looks like for your generation and the generations in your community to follow.”

On the food she’d never be able to give up:

RILEY: “Pasta.”

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