1.) Where are you with your action? (e.g. what involvement have you had so far? Describe with examples)
So far, my group and I have completed one ocean clean-up or rather, a nature clean-up. We picked up garbage and recycling from around Mundy Park in Coquitlam, BC. This was the first of many clean-ups we have planned and it had a very successful outcome, which we were very pleased with. Moreover, we ventured through the park, both on the main trail and the smaller trails, for an hour and a half to find as much trash as possible. We even went beyond the boundaries of the park to clear the sidewalks and pathways of miscellaneous pieces of garbage. Although, we have only just started our action project, I am satisfied with the small impact we have already made in our local community and grateful for the experiences it provided.
2.) What are some successes that you have had? Provide specific examples.
The overall success of the clean-up was that in only an hour and a half we were able to fill our large garbage bag about 3/4 of the way. This is a big success for many reasons. Firstly, our parks and streets in Coquitlam are kept relatively tidy, thanks to the city. In order to find anything, we had to look carefully as we walked to spot misplaced objects. On top of this, most of the garbage that was collected was very small, therefore it did not take up too much space in the bag, for example candy bar wrappers or small pieces of hard plastic. Very few of our pieces were large and occupied lots of space. Considering this, I estimate that we collected around 75 pieces or more, of trash which gives a better representation of how much we actually picked up. Our other success was simply being able to align our schedules and find time to go out and complete this activity. My group and I are all very busy with homework, school, extracurriculars and work. However, we knew we had to do our clean-up, not only for the action project, but to lend a helping hand to our community. I am so happy we were able to arrange the activity and that i went as successfully as one could hope.
3.) What are some challenges that you have faced? Have you been able to overcome them? If so, how? Provide specific examples. If not, can you problem-solve some ideas that might work for next time or if a similar situation arises? Again, provide specific examples.
We did actually face several conflicts, however we were committed until the end to complete our clean-up. One example of a challenge that we faced was the pouring rain that would not let up that day. While we were somewhat expecting this weather, we did not think about all the effects it would have on us. As we went out right after school finished, we were carrying our backpacks with us containing our homework and personal devices. After an hour in the park we realized that our bags were soaked and we did not want our belongings inside to become soaked as well. To fix this, I suggested that with the extra trash bags we had brought, we cover our backpacks to protect them from the rain. With a few adjustments every now and again, this solution worked very well for us. On top of this, another conflict faced was almost getting lost within the forest. As aforementioned, we wandered onto smaller trails within the forest, instead of staying on the surrounding gravel path to maximize our garbage pick-up. At one point we found ourselves walking with no end in sight, no way back to the main path. Our solution was to stick to the clearer paths and try to follow the paths that led to clearings. With this thinking we were eventually able to make it onto the gravel path once again and continue our clean-up.
4.) What are you doing next and why?
This clean up was done last week and our next scheduled clean-up will be this following week. With this schedule, my group and I will continue to go out and do garbage pick-ups in surrounding areas for the months to come. Our goal is to go to different locations every two weeks so that we are able to expand our impact as much as we can within our community. The reason we plan to go every two weeks is to help maintain a clean environment around our city and also to maximize our impact. From a personal perspective, I am excited to do multiple clean-ups as I gain experience, problem solving skills, and can help make a difference. It is also simply a fun and rewarding activity. Hopefully, by the end of our action project we will have cleaned at least 5 locations. If we are able to clean more that would be amazing and I can’t wait to see what we are able to achieve.