1.) Where are you with your action?
For our action project we have completed one park clean-up so far this semester. Due to scheduling conflicts Itzel and I were the only ones who were able to clean up Lafarge lake park this specific day and it went great. We spent over half an hour walking around the grassy areas near the lake, around the min path and on the smaller paths and we were able to collect an abundance of garbage. Itzel and I were in fact shocked at how much trash there was seeing as it is a main attraction, we assumed that it would be maintained more frequently. Yet, what we found is that Lafarge lake park was actually even more cluttered than the other parks we had cleaned in the past during the previous semester. Since our first cleaning of the semester was a great success we are already planning our next outing to make more of an impact in our community.
2.) What are some successes that you have had?
Our biggest success was picking up an immense amount of garbage. In total, we picked up 144 pieces of trash from only a specific section of the park. We found everything from plastic bottles, to masks, to confetti. While it is unfortunate that there was this much, an even more litter scattered around the park, Itzel and I were happy to see that we were able to reverse this hazard and properly dispose of the garbage as it was meant to be. We could even see our progress as we moved on from one section to another, there was noticeable difference and it was truly motivating to see. Because of this we didn’t stop, we wanted the people of Coquitlam to be able to walk in a clean neighbourhood park, so we continued until it darkened. If we were able to pick up 144 pieces of garbage in about 30 minutes, imagine how much of an impact we can make over a long period of time and visiting different spots. I cannot wait to continue this for the coming months.
3.) What are some challenges that you have faced?
One challenge that we faced was unexpected scheduling conflicts. Our other group members either fell ill or had an entailed extracurricular that all happened last minute even though we had been planning for a few weeks in advance. However, this did not discourage me or Itzel, we went to the park anyway and continued the clean up ourselves because we did not want to miss the opportunity to take action and I am so glad we still went. In the future, hopefully our scheduling goes as planned, however if it does not, I am sure we will problem-solve to find a solution for it then. Another problem that arose was that when we arrived at the park Itzel and I realized that we had remembered the garbage bag, but had forgotten to bring our gloves to pick up the garbage with. We contemplated about what to do at first. In the end, we decided to use sticks that we found to pick up trash that was wet, slimey, or overall just looked more grimey. For the rest, we used our hands and made sure to wash our hands very thoroughly after. I believe we came up with a pretty good solution to our problem at the time as it was both efficient and effective. Clearly the method worked, as we were able to pick up the amount of trash that we did. Next time I will definitely pack my gloves into my backpack a few days in advance to our clean up so that this inconvenience does not happen again.
4.) What are you doing next and why?
We are still unsure of the exact location we will clean up next, but seeing as we were so incredibly successful at Lafarge lake park it is likely that we will visit it again as it becomes busier in the warmer weather. This semester, planning to do these clean ups every two weeks unfortunately does not coincide with our schedules as we are all very busy with school, jobs and extracurriculars but we will try to do them as often as we can. Specifically we will be planning more in advance and be prepared no matter the challenges we will face that day. This is extremely important to me and my group because we all want to make an impact in our community. Personally, looking back on how much garbage we have picked up so far this year with only having done 4 cleanups, it is pretty amazing. While we are fortunate to live in a very clean city, this does not mean we cannot make it cleaner. Our small outings help our community and the environment which is only one of the reasons we decided to continue our cleap ups for the rest of the year when choosing our second action project.
Hi Chantal! That’s amazing! It keeps surprising me the great amount of garbage it can be found, but overall the lack of actions people hesitate to do, becoming even more common each week that passes by. It has to be always a person with good purposes to initiate a project and then little by little the whole community incorporates. Great job! I am pretty sure this will bring new opportunities to people to reconsider climate change and do something about it, and hoping it is not too late yet.