Trash Walking

disposables, keepers, treasures

I’m still here, still trash walking, just not writing much.

There I am!   On this particular day, I was helping out with a #buttblitz2016 initiative put together by http://www.agreenerfuture.ca/

I’ve neglected my blog terribly, but not my neighbourhood.  Still picking up trash, still documenting what I do, on my Facebook page facebook.com/cindytrashwalking

I’m aiming to revitalize this blog and get writing again.  Bear with me, as I try to get back to it.  In the mean time, please visit me on FB, for lots of photos and commentary.

Peace!

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Stupid Quote of the Day

"At least you can't see it!"

“At least you can’t see it!”

Along the wall

Along the wall

As I trash walked earlier this week, I was climbing along a lakeside rock wall, where people often sit to enjoy the view.  They enjoy the beauty of the view, but feel compelled to leave behind their litter.  That is a dichotomy that I will never understand.  Lover of beauty, thoughtless destroyer of beauty.  I was thinking about this as I was reaching deep between rocks to retrieve yet another coffee cup jammed in there.

As I stood up, cup successfully retrieved, a gentleman stopped and commented: “Lots of garbage in there, eh?”  “Yeah”, I replied, “people think that if they jam it between the rocks, they aren’t littering, I guess”.  Now, I thought that this man was going to be a trash walker’s soul mate, a guy who gets it, maybe someone who occasionally picks up the odd bit of litter himself.  I was excited.  I’m always excited when I have the chance to talk about the war on litter that I wage daily.  I’m always excited to enlist new recruits.

I was stunned, sadly disappointed and rendered speechless when this gentleman responded with “at least you can’t see it”, or what I call the Stupid Quote of the Day.

I already get some odd looks as I trash walk, and I’m resigned to that, I don’t care.  But no need to stir the pot by cursing and ranting loudly,  So, as I went back to my trash walking, I cursed and ranted quietly instead, as I dug unseen litter from between the boulders.

Please pick up 3 pieces of trash today, wherever you are.  Every little bit counts.

peace.

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Earth Day 2015

The other day, I posted this photo on my Facebook page, Trash Walking Moms

stop

A photo that I took a year or so ago that I thought I would use as a cover photo for a while.  When someone posted the word “start” beneath it, I began to think about this post and about Earth Day.

A few thoughts on Stop and Start

ignoring the obvious.    seeing the world around you.

making excuses.     taking action.

not giving a shit.     planting trees. hugging trees.

thinking it’s not your problem.     shouldering a share of the burden

buying into corporate cons.     getting your water from a tap

addiction to disposability.     refusing, re-using reducing recycling repairing re-purposing, sharing.

comparisons to others.     measuring yourself for who you are inside, not what you have.

rushing.     just being.  getting to nature.  slowing down. breathing.

not thinking about it.   recognizing the effects choices can have.

taking life on earth for granted.     protecting precious life.

There is so much more to add to this, but time won’t allow me to go on.  Add to it if you like.

Enjoy Earth Day today, wherever you are, and however you can.

Love Mother Earth.  Care for her.  Protect her.  Stand up for her.

Peace.

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An April Trashwalker: Looking back, looking forward

I’ve had some highs and lows this past month, and the above article (flip through to pages 6 and 7 of the link) that I was asked to write for a local magazine was definitely a high!

I’ve carried on with trash walking throughout the winter, but, I have to admit, I was feeling a tad defeated.  Maybe it had something to do with it being a particularly long and cold winter, and with knowing that there was a mountain of litter lurking underneath the snowbanks.  I still picked up trash, and never had a thought of quitting, but I was missing something.  I was missing local involvement, I was missing company. This article and positive responses to it have re-invigorated me, and I’m ready to hit the streets, “guns- a- blazin”, hopefully with some new trash walking friends.

I have new ideas brewing, and have made some neighbourhood connections which I am hoping will have some positive results.  People are asking me about trash walking, and are wanting to help.  People are picking up litter and posting photos to my Facebook page.  I love this! I welcome the help, and I need it.  I can’t do it alone.  There is just too much to do. I finally feel like maybe this is the start of a movement, like maybe people are waking up to a very real problem, and that maybe, together we can make some small changes.

I have a plan in the works to get local businesses on board with a mission to make Port Credit the cleanest neighbourhood in the city of Mississauga, Ontario.  Lofty goal?  Maybe?  Do-able?  Yes, I think so.  I’m taking a chance, a leap of faith, that they will understand my intent. I am armed with letters to go out to local businesses this week, and when I drop them off, I hope to have many fulfilling conversations with business owners. I need to convince them that there is a litter problem here, and that it is within our grasp to turn this around. Wish me luck as I head out to talk to these folks!

On my Facebook page, I continue to share photos of neighbourhood litter as I pick it up, and I share insights and information from other trash walkers in other corners of the world.  Around the world and around the corner, on line and in person, conversations are occurring.
I sometimes feel that in this world, we have lost what it means to have civic pride, to do one’s civic duty.  I see the litter here, and I see photos of litter in England, Thailand, Australia and the USA. The people who are fighting litter in other countries face the same battle we do here. The battle against garbage on the streets, in the rivers, on the shores is only going to be won if we can somehow get to the understanding that we are all accountable. We need to reclaim our civic pride and uphold our civic duty. We need to pick up other people’s litter, and we need to teach them that littering is just not right. We need to hold corporations accountable for the litter that their product generates.  We each need to take action to reduce our reliance on disposability. Whether it is a small step, like refusing single use bags and cups, or a large step, like going completely plastic free, all the steps will add up to a better world. It really is as simple as that.
pleasestoplittering
“Every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty”- John D.Rockefeller Jr

April is Earth Month, of course, so it’s only fitting to close this post with the most famous quote from what I consider to be the quintessential book on our duty to the environment. Thank you to Dr. Seuss and The Lorax for these words.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.”

Peace,

Cindy

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2014/2015…looking back, looking ahead

Happy New Year!
Although I had always tried to pick up litter here and there prior to 2014, this is the year that I took it up a notch. 2014 is the year that I made a conscious decision to do dedicated trash walks, and to document my efforts via this blog and my Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/cindytrashwalking?ref=hl
I’m happy with that decision, and look forward to continuing with my efforts in 2015. I always finish a walk with a feeling that I’ve done my best, and I try show through my actions that bending over and picking up a piece of litter is something good. It doesn’t mean that you’re weird, it means that you care. In 2015, I want to make it cool to pick up litter. I want to make what I am doing a community thing, something that we all do, something that we take pride in. I want Port Credit to become known as the cleanest neighbourhood in Mississauga. I plan to work with local businesses to get this litter problem under control. I plan to hound our local politicians, if need be, get more garbage bins placed in key locations.
This past year, I dedicated myself to cleaning up a local lakeside park/beach area, and, during the good weather, was out there picking up once a week. When not lakeside, I picked up around some of the streets in my Port Credit neighbourhood, and at a vacant lot which I have unofficially adopted as my own. I’ve written about my walks, I’ve taken photos of a ton of garbage. I’ve found some cool stuff, but, sadly, I have mainly picked up crap. On Facebook, I’ve shared information from other trash walkers around the world. I have discovered that there are a lot of us out there, and that we’re all essentially working toward the same end, wherever we are. We’re tired of seeing garbage strewn in our public places, spoiling the natural beauty of our planet and we recognize that there is no “away” when it comes to this garbage. We all want to find solutions to this mess we humans have created, and I think we all recognize that it won’t be an easy fix.
It is not easy to live a plastic free life, and there are not many who can do it. I am far from plastic free, but I am consciously taking simple actions to at least reduce my family’s plastic consumption.
The simplest steps, which I have written about before, but that bear repeating, are within everyone’s capabilities.
In 2015, I am asking everyone to join me in really thinking about society’s relatively new addiction to disposability. This addiction to a throw away culture has been created by industry for profit, and has been sold to us in the name of convenience. I want you to help me stand up to litter by inconveniencing yourself just a teeny, tiny bit. Wash out a reusable coffee cup, wash out a steel water bottle, pack your lunch or snack in a reusable container, and remember to bring your reusable bags to the grocery store. Taking these actions will become habit soon enough, but a habit far less damaging to our planet than the plastic habit.
We can begin to turn the tide in this war on litter, just by taking these simple steps. I know that I will definitely see a difference in my own trash walks, because, on the streets, I can tell you that the two items that I pick up more of than anything else are disposable cups and disposable bottles.
I think that I might be preaching to the choir here, and I’m sorry if I come across as preachy. I don’t mean to, I really don’t. But I’m passionate about this, and the more I talk about it, the more change created, I hope. If you already do what I have suggested above, will you please help spread the word?
Thank you to all the trash walkers, beach cleaners, litter pickers and friends who have picked up this year. I hope your year is filled with purpose and joy. I hope that one day, you will go out to pick up litter and NOT FIND ANYTHING! Wouldn’t that be something?

I’d like to share just a couple of pictures to close out this post. First, a piece of art created by Christine Fry, who is concerned about plastic pollution in our oceans, and in particular, the scourge of the plastic bottle. Christine designed and created these labels, and distributed some of them at a recent art show in Toronto. The intent is to raise awareness via social media. Someone picks up a littered plastic bottle, puts one of these labels on it, photographs it, and posts the photo to their social media and to my Facebook page, Trash Walking Moms. Then, of course, they dispose of the bottle appropriately, thus saving it from ending up in the gyre. So far, I have forgotten to bring a label with me when I trash walk, but I will 🙂 Thank you, Christine.
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And then there is this photo! Twenty bucks found amongst the fallen leaves on my trash walk this morning. Pretty low pay for a year’s worth of trash walking, but I’ll take it. I’m not in it for the money, that’s for sure! Anyway, the local pub is sponsoring a Polar Bear Dip tomorrow, to raise funds for a couple of great charities. I dropped the money off at The Brogue today. Found money should always be shared. 🙂
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“Slacktivism”, Activism, being the hummingbird. A rebuttal.

A little off the course from my usual Trash Walking posts, but this opinion piece by Scott Gilmore, and published in Macleans magazine on so called “Slacktivism” really got me riled up, so please bear with me, readers.  Have a look at the piece here, then please read my response.

http://www.macleans.ca/society/the-real-problem-with-slacktivism/

I think that what the author fails to understand is that those of us who click, share, and sign online petitions DO care about the particular cause we are promoting on our social media pages and may, in fact, care about several causes simultaneously. But we can’t give our time or our money to every cause that we care about. So people and organizations use social media to, at the very least, raise awareness, and maybe that awareness raising does lead others, who are able to, to donate money or time. No, I did not donate any money to the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, but I do share information about it, because I believe that the situation is an atrocity that needs to be addressed, and I hope with all my heart that The Chibok girls are finally returned to their families. Mr. Gilmore, ask the families of those girls if they are happy that the situation has gained worldwide attention.  Ask the good people at ALS Canada and USA if they are happy that “slacktivists” helped to promote their cause.  I think the fact that one hundred million dollars was raised will answer that question.

Personally, I have donated to a couple of causes this year, and I plan on continuing to do so. (Plan Canada and ALS.  I dumped the ice water, challenged my friends and made a small donation).  I am quietly active in several other areas locally.  I pick up garbage in my neighbourhood, I gave socks to a little girl named Hannah who is collecting new pairs socks for local people who could use them.  I painted rocks for a charity garage sale last year, put on by friends to support the Strickland children of London, Ontario, who lost both parents within a year. I’ve done other things, and so have my friends.

My point is, you know nothing about me or about others like me, Scott Gilmore, and your assertion that tweeting, or not shaving, or pouring ice over your head, or wearing a wristband and otherwise sharing information is “proof that you care more about yourself than the cause” is pretty damned arrogant.  On behalf of those who tweet, don’t shave, pour ice water over their heads, share Facebook posts, I’d like to ask you not to belittle us.  Like the hummingbird in Wangari Maathai’s retelling of the story and posted on The Kid Should See This, we are doing what we can.  Yes, Scott Gilmore, I Googled your name, and I see that you are quite a noted philanthropist, with impeccable credentials.  So maybe you made larger donations than we did, or maybe you spent more time working for a cause than us.  Good for you.  But please, don’t tell those of us who are trying to help in our own small way not to do what we can. If all someone does is click, tweet, or share, maybe it is all they can do right now.  If all someone does is drop a toonie in a donation bin, or a can of soup in a food bank collection station, that is what they can do.  Maybe they wish they could do more, and maybe, down the road, when they have more time or money, they will.

(Here is the link to the Story of the Hummingbird, as told by Wangari Maathai in Dirt! The Movie)

http://thekidshouldseethis.com/post/wangari-maathai-i-will-be-a-hummingbird

I’d really like to know what my readers think of this piece by Scott Gilmore, and about my response, so please chime in.  I apologize if this is a bit of a rant, but I felt it needed saying.

As always, happy trash walking, happy peace making.

Peace

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A busy week. Educating, crafting, organizing, trash walking

The past week has been busy and I have a lot to say about it. It’s been both rewarding and frustrating, and has involved maybe more time that it should have. The messy state of my own house, the emptiness of my fridge and the fullness of my laundry basket attest to how busy I have been. But it’s been a good busy, and I want to share it.
In no particular order, here’s what I’ve been up to.

I cut the sleeves and necklines off a whole lot of donated t-shirts, and then spent several hours cutting fringes at the bottom of said shirts. I tied the fringes together on a couple, added some splashes of paint, and voila! T-shirt carry bags.
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I took the sample bags and the pile of pre-cut t-shirts to Eco Club on Wednesday, and got grade 4,5,6, students busy tying the fringes. Next week, we can get in to the fun part of using paint to add a touch of uniqueness to each bag. Each student will be able to take one bag as their own, and will make at least 2 more, to be sold as a charitable fundraising effort in December. I brought all tied bags home, and realized that I would have to inspect each one for holes along the knotted “seam”, where the knots were not executed quite right. There are quite a few that need re-knotting. Bless these kids, I thought this was going to be a fun and relatively easy craft. It’s turning in to a little more work than I anticipated, but the bags are going to be unique and useful, and will hopefully be consciousness raising among the kids and others in the school community and beyond. Hopefully they will inspire conversation about plastic bags. They will be Eco Club’s humble effort at reducing our plastic bag use in good old Port Credit, Ontario.

The last minute cancellation of planned guest speaker at Eco Club had an unexpected result. Upon learning that our guest was unable to attend the meeting, I had to quickly come up something else to do with the students. Since I have been regularly grabbing trash in the school yard, photographing it, and posting it to my trash walking FB page, and since I expected that the amount of candy and snack wrappers would dramatically increase after Halloween, it was a no-brainer to focus on school yard litter for this week’s meeting. With the approval of the principal, we held a trash pick up which included data collection of types of litter found. As well, students wrote and read anti-litter announcements to the student body and created and displayed anti-litter posters throughout the school. Here’s what was picked up on that first day. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but there were well over 200 pieces of trash.
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This impromptu activity has happily evolved into the launch of an ongoing, voluntary “Litter Brigade” at the school, and I worked with the principal throughout this past week on figuring out the logistical details of it. It took a fair bit of effort and time, but I think it is going to be a wonderful permanent component of Eco Club. The two litter pick ups completed so far have definitely been eye opening for the students and staff. We may have to iron out a few wrinkles, and make a couple of tweaks to the process, but I’m really pleased so far. We’ll continue to touch on the subject of litter throughout the school year and will be able to relate it to other segments of Eco Club as we proceed.

I did also find some time to do my own trash walking. I won’t go in to great detail about that, because it was really just the usual stuff, sadly. Taken from an empty lot in my neighbourhood that no one seems to take responsibility for. There was a lot there. I took photos and posted pictures to FB, in an album simply titled Lots of Crap. https://www.facebook.com/cindytrashwalking
A mom friend told me a couple of weeks how great I was for doing trash walks, and then went on to explain that she doesn’t have it in her to pick up other people’s trash. She’s a good person, and she loves our neighbourhood. So, I’m working on her. I intend to show her that she does have it in her. We all do. Do you have a friend who you really appreciate, who shares your views on so many things, but who you feel you need to enlighten or wake up in some way?
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Peace.

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Losing myself. My beach, my country, my responsibility.

It was a perfect morning for trash walking today at “my” park/beach today. Sun shining, autumn colours a bit past peak, but the trees are still stunning in their beauty. I was quite worried about what I would find at the beach, because it’s been over a month since I dedicated some time to it.There was not very much litter at all today, and I was really very pleasantly surprised. Maybe someone else has been picking up there. That would be good! Maybe people have been staying away from the park, but I sort of doubt that, because we have had some lovely weather lately. The kind of weather where we Ontarians head outdoors to “enjoy it while we can”, because we know that snow and cold are just around the corner. Maybe there was more than I could see, and the usual nasty bits of styrofoam, broken plastic and cigarette butts were just hidden under the beautiful covering of fallen leaves. Anyway, I got what I could see. Not even enough to fill my trusty bucket and bag today. Only took one trash photo, then took more of the beauty around me. Not that I’m complaining about not finding garbage. That is a good thing. It was a gorgeous morning. I enjoyed being out, listening to the waves, and loosing myself at the beach for a while. When I was finished picking up, I found a bench and did a little work on a zen doodle that I started earlier this week. IMG01562-20141028-1428
I thought about a terribly sad week in my country. Two soldiers killed, and I don’t understand why. I hope their families and loved ones find peace some day, and I hope that they rest in peace. Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincente, thank you for your service to Canada. This post is dedicated to you.
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Grand Total

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675 of these suckers collected!

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Never know what you`re going to find.

So, I am trying my hand at creating some moss graffiti here in Port Credit, because it looks pretty cool.  Made my first experimental batch of moss paint and painted a few rocks that I had collected for the purpose.  I had tons of left over paint though, so took it over to a wall that I`m pretty sure no one really cares about.  Had a grand time, painting peace signs etc.

This wall is adjacent to a public parking lot, which is quite often badly littered.  I don`t pick up there usually, because I know that they have staff who clean the lot on a daily basis, so I leave it for them.  But today, I found this, sitting atop a parking barrier.

(photo deleted, for decency’s sake, lol)

I wonder if it`s a case of someone not wanting their better half to know what they`d been up to that day, besides littering

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