It’s Earth Day, and BYOU Magazine honors two very special sisters in our GIRLS MAKING A DIFFERENCE program. Meet Marlowe Peyton and Merit Leighton, founders of The Plastic Patrol.
Marlowe and Merit are just like most 8 and 10 year old girls; they are sisters who love to make crafts, play on playgrounds, go to the beach, and eat out at restaurants. However, they are girls who make a difference while doing things they love. When they make crafts, they make them from recycled plastic. When they play on the playground or the beach, they collect trash. When Marlowe and Merit eat out at fast-food restaurants, they bring their own cups and silverware.
They have created “The Plastic Patrol,” a website for kids to learn how to be green and save the oceans. The sisters created The Plastic Patrol after seeing an Earth Day show on TV discussing the huge floating garbage patches in the oceans. Although they were only 4 and 6 years old at the time, Marlowe and Merit were struck by the disastrous effect that discarded plastic is having on our ocean. “It’s just not right!” says Merit. “Our oceans are not made to have plastic floating around in them. We made it. We need to be responsible for it. We need to fix it!”
The Plastic Patrol is doing just that. Not just on Earth Day, but every day, Marlowe and Merit spend hours combing parks and beaches for discarded trash, and more hours researching the effects of the discarded trash. They teach kids their age about how ocean turtles can get caught in plastic rings and end up being shaped like hourglasses. They are producing webisodes that show how plastic is interfering with the entire ocean life cycle (parts of the ocean have more plastic than plankton, which blocks the sunlight and stops algae from growing, which results in less food for smaller animals, which results in less food for larger animals, and eventually affects the entire food chain). “Even more importantly,” continue the girls, “the small fish eat the plastic and the larger fish eat them, which means WE eat fish that have been eating plastic! Doesn’t sound very good, does it?”
For their work, Merit and Marlowe have appeared on “Live, Life and Win” and “The Young Icons” series, and they’ve been featured on www.kidsareheroes.org and www.planet911.com. This sense of strength extends beyond environmental activism for Marlowe and Merit. They are tackling Hollywood as well. Marlowe has appeared on the shows, “The Neighbors,” “Jessie,” and “The Middle,” as well as in films like Disney’s “The Adventures of the Santa Pups.” Merit has been on “Sofia the First” as Lucinda The Witch and “The New Normal,” and has appeared in the films, “Monster Slayer” and “RA: Resident Advisor.” Additionally, the sisters worked together on the recently released film, “The Lost Medallion.” Marlowe and Merit have been honored with multiple C.A.R.E. (Child Actor Recognition Event) awards.
Moving forward, Merit and Marlowe most want girls to know that they have the power to make a difference. “One person can change the world, and we’re basically doing it one kid at a time,” says Merit. After all, she concludes, “If we don’t, who will?”
For more information, visit www.theplasticpatrol.org. Happy Earth Day! YOU can make a difference too! (Story by Karen Davidson)