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Halito am akana, chim achukma! 

Greetings friends! My name is Amber Morningstar Byars and I am a proud member of the Choctaw Nation. I am currently a student at the Institute of American Indian Arts and will be graduate in May 2018 with a BA in Indigenous Liberal Studies and an AFA in Studio Arts. Strawless Santa Fe is my senior project. Welcome! 

What is SSF? 

Strawless Santa Fe is my senior project but is actually so much more. SSF is a small part of a larger movement to move away from single-use plastic items. My goal is to create community conversation about what we can do, as a city, to reduce our plastic waste production. There are many eco-friendly options for those who need or would like to use a straw; paper or biodegradable straws, reusable straws (glass, stainless steel, durable plastic). 

How did SSF come to life? 

To fulfill my degree requirements, I was tasked with conceptualizing an in-depth semester-long research project that would engage a chosen community while challenging my research and organizational skills. After learning about the Strawless in Seattle movement, spearheaded by the nonprofit organization Lonely Whale, I was inspired to try to create a similar movement in my hometown of Santa Fe, NM. If I am going to have to spend almost a year working on something, I might as well try to create some positive change!

Why plastic straws? 

With a reported 500 million straws discarded daily in the United States, our oceans and landfills are quickly filling up with non-biodegradable plastics. Straws might seem like a small and insignificant place to start but it is my firm belief that in order to climb the mountain that is climate change, we have to put one foot in front of the other. Every small change matters and the time to act is now. 

What are the goals?

- To have dozens of Santa Fe restaurant and bar owners sign a pledge stating that by the end of 2018, they will no longer be carrying plastic straws in their establishments and will either be straw free or will opt for a eco-friendly option

- To collect 1,000 petition signatures from community members asking and encouraging Santa Fe bars and restaurants to stop offering plastic straws and implement an eco-friendly option

- To engage the disabled community and those who need and depend on straws, in conversations about alternative straw options and how to create this potential policy change so that no one in the disabled community is negatively effected

How can I get involved?

Sign the petition, share our sites on social media, reach out! Post pictures of your strawless dining experiences with #strawlesssantafe and #stopsuckingsantafe. If you are a Santa Fe business owner that would like to take the pledge, please email us at Feel free to contact us with questions, concerns, constructive critiques, or to volunteer. While Strawless Santa Fe started as a one-person project, it will end as a community effort. If there is to be any significant change made, we will ALL have to work together. Let's make some changes Santa Fe!

Yakoke (thank you), 

Amber Morningstar Byars 


All photos on this site are courtesy of RM Young Photography