With as many concerns as teenagers have regarding education, friends, relationships and a host of others, it is unlikely the health of the Earth’s marine environment is one of them.
However, for Pace Academy sophomore and Buckhead resident Kate Grabowski, that environment, especially creatures living in the world’s oceans, is a major concern. Last month the 15-year-old started 3 Pieces, a nonprofit to raise awareness of the amount of trash which is accumulating in the world’s oceans and negatively impacts the habitat of the many species of marine life.
Grabowski, the daughter of Kiery Braithwaite and Matt Grabowski, asks all who go to the beach or the ocean, for any amount of time, to pick up and properly dispose of or recycle at least three pieces of trash each day or week they are there. In metro Atlanta, she asks residents to do the same thing.
With about 20 other Pace students involved in 3 Pieces, Grabowski is spending a good part of her weekends putting out signs in metro Atlanta to promote the nonprofit. She’s also giving presentations on the importance of recycling or properly disposing of trash which cannot be recycled to groups such as her younger sister Lilly’s class at school.
“I am encouraging people to recycle such items they find on the beach or in the water or, if they are not recyclable, to dispose of them properly and not just toss them on the ground,” she said.
Grabowski credits her grandfather, Kenneth Grabowski, with giving her the idea of developing such an organization.
“When I would go to the beach, my grandfather would always tell me to recycle or dispose of properly at least three pieces of trash I might find which had not been recycled or disposed of properly and do so with that trash,” she said.
Grabowski said National Geographic magazine stated there were about 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean, which doesn’t include trash disposed of on boats or cruise ships.
According to her mother, Grabowski has always been very passionate about animals and the environment.
“She has her friends and family taking part in this program and is now trying to get more people involved in spreading her message,” Braithwaite said. “She is hoping this practice will catch on and become a habit, like brushing your teeth.”
On the 3 Pieces Instagram page, Grabowski has posted messages with challenges and tips for the public to be more environmentally friendly such as, “Month of November Challenge: Bring a reusable cup to Starbucks.”