1. What challenges did you overcome throughout this action project? How did you go about
overcoming these challenges?
As my group (Dorra J, Chantal M) and I started our nature clean-ups, we noticed the same difficulties were re-occurring. The first difficulty was scheduling. Since we all had different classes and different extra-curricular activities, it was hard to find a day where we were able to complete a nature clean-up. Once we found a day, we had difficulties choosing a location where we were able to commute to via public transport and get home safe. However, we were always able to find a location that we could bus to from school and each get home from. Then once we started our clean-ups at those locations we ran into more difficulties. Due to the winter weather, it was very cold and it was usually raining while we were outdoors. Also, the sunset started occurring sooner making it harder to see garbage. Because of the winter weather we always dressed appropriately to stay dry and to keep us warm and would bring umbrellas when necessary. On our first nature cleanup, it started to rain causing our bags to get wet. To keep them dry, along with our school supplies and laptops inside, we tied extra garbage bags we had around our bags to keep them dry. Luckily, it worked and we managed to keep our belongings dry. Another thing we realized, was that our parks were usually very well kept and clean, which made it difficult for us to find garbage. However, we overcame this challenge by looking in areas that were not as visible instead of main trails and areas such as bushes or places off to the side for instance hidden trails.
2. How did this action change the way you think?
Before I started this action, I thought that there would be a lot more garbage that was not properly disposed of in public areas. To my surprise, there was a lot less garbage than expected. In fact, there were a few times when it was almost difficult to find garbage. Yet, we always managed to find it in hidden places such as ditches or bushes. Along the way we realized, there are other larger groups of people who do nature clean-ups in our community with set dates and trails. For example, in Mundy Park, there are some people who “adopt a trail” and keep it clean. This action changed the way I think by opening up my mind more to the effects of pollution and plastic within our community as well as the world, including wildlife and the impacts it has on us.
3. How did this action impact your future decisions?
In the future, anytime I see garbage I am able to pick up safely, I will. I’ve experienced the small difference it makes for our community, and believe it’s important for me to continue making a difference. I might go on nature clean-ups when I have spare time, but when I’m going on walks and I spot garbage, if it is safe to pick up, I will dispose of it properly. I will also encourage my friends and others to do the same as well as speak up when I notice someone littering. This action impacted what I consume and choose to buy. For example, nowadays many foods or snack packaging have an excess of plastic. When shopping, I will buy products that produce less waste or whose packaging can be recycled and reused. Throughout this action I have learned many ways to reduce my plastic pollution, such as purchasing second-hand items from thrift stores or Facebook marketplace, cooking more instead of eating fast food, reusing items, recycling as much as I can, using wood, or metal items instead of plastic items. In the future, I will continue to put what I have learned to use.
4. What impact will this action have on others locally and/or globally?
I hope others have seen my blog posts and are inspired to always clean up after themselves and possibly start their own nature cleanups. There are many garbage cans in public areas, therefore if someone has garbage and is not near one, they can put it in their bag or pocket and wait to throw it out instead of littering. It might not seem like a big difference, but proper disposal of trash is important within the world. If everyone decided to properly dispose of trash there would not be any garbage in public areas, and most of the garbage could be recycled and reused. Finding pieces of garbage in public areas, especially when there are garbage cans a couple of feet away. Garbage in parks can be especially dangerous because animals could confuse them with food, and eat it or harm themselves with it, for example getting plastic stuck around their bodies. Also, young kids might pick up the garbage or touch it, without knowing what it is. Therefore it can endanger wildlife, harm the environment, and produce more pollution. Cleaning up after yourself is very important. A small action makes a big difference. I encourage people to do nature clean-ups as they are a great way to connect with the environment and clear your head. It can even be done in a 30-minute walk, where someone picks up any garbage they see and dispose of it properly.