Quick—pop quiz: Do fish feel pain?
The answer is yes, of course! And just like us, fish want to live freely with their friends and family in their natural homes. Unfortunately, a lot of trash is being dumped into oceans, lakes, ponds, and other habitats for fish, turtles, frogs, birds, and other animals because of littering and fishing. This can make it hard for these animals to live without trash getting in the way and possibly causing them harm. Father and son team Tom and Mark saw all the trash in the Detroit River by their home and decided to do something about it!
They created an activity called “trash fishing” and are encouraging everyone in their community to get out there and try it.
What’s trash fishing? It’s fishing for trash instead of animals! So instead of yanking a fish out of the water (where they can’t breathe), you’re helping to clean up their home. Here’s what 11-year-old Mark had to say:
How did you think of this activity?
I saw that there was trash in the water, so I wanted to clean up the water for the fish and the birds. We didn’t have a boat, and I wanted to ride in one, so I suggested this to [my dad]. Now, we have a boat and get to have fun.
What inspired you to want to help animals?
The animals need our help! The fact is that the water is getting more filled with trash and in the future, if we don’t do anything, there will just be more and more trash. If that happens, where are the fish going to swim and what will the birds eat? People are messing with the circle of life.
What’s your favorite thing about trash fishing?
I like it when we find weird stuff that we can remove from the river. I also like being outdoors with [my dad]. I like trash fishing more than regular fishing because regular fishing is boring and gross—and trash fishing is more fun. We’re good at trash fishing, too.
Do you have any advice for other kids who want to help animals and the environment?
Helping the environment isn’t hard. Picking up trash might seem gross, but you just have to suck it up, buttercup!
We ♥ trash fishing! Congratulations to Mark and Tom for winning our Hero to Animals award. They’ll continue to help animals and encourage others to do so as well with their upcoming trash-fishing contest, which encourages locals in their community to join them on the water and see who picks up the most trash! Check out their events here.