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Cleaning up for the planet!

Photograph: Unsplash

Text: Katharine H Noyed

On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day was held in the United States, marking the birth of the modern environmental movement. Millions of Americans got involved, participating in marches, rallies, and educational events across the country, all united under the mission of bringing environmental concerns to the forefront of political discussions. Fifty-two years later, the original mission of Earth Day continues to hold firm. Yet, the organisation has expanded its efforts, seeking to engage as many as 1 billion people and governments, entrepreneurs, and businesses in efforts to better protect and preserve our planet year-round.

This year’s Earth Day theme is: “Invest in Our Planet”. Although corporations account for as much as 71 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions affecting our planet today, this doesn’t mean we should give up. Instead, we should feel empowered to demand change and do better both collectively and individually. In the words of the official Earth Day organisation: As individuals, we have the simple yet effective power to make our voices heard through our choices, civic actions, and personal interactions. What each of us does and how we do it has a huge ripple effect on our ecosystems and the pace of corporate and government action.

How about organising your own cleanup?

  • Define a purpose and designate an area you want to clean up.

  • Gather a team and set a cleanup date/time. Then, closer to the date, check the weather and dress appropriately. Wear something you don’t mind getting dirty!

  • Gather supplies including trash grabbers, bags, gloves, hand sanitiser, first aid kit, and a location to dispose of your waste.

  • Find a location to dispose of all the waste you will clean up! Then, sort the waste into trash, recyclables, and hazardous waste.

  • Take pictures during your clean up and post them on social media with the hashtag #GreatGlobalCleanup, #TrashTag, or #Plogging.

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