Monday, August 25, 2014

Green Bird Anaheim & Waste Less Challenge

Logo courtesy of green bird, Photo courtesy of Maurice Turner

A couple of weekends ago I met up with my neighbors for a neighborhood trash pick-up. The trash pickup was the launch of Green BirdsAnaheim – the first in the United States. Green Bird was started in 2003 by a group of young people in Tokyo, Japan. Their goal? “To clean the towns we live in and love” through their message that “littering is ugly and uncool.” Green Bird arrived in Anaheim through the continued dedication of trying to make their neighborhood a better place to live. My friends Kevin and Jody, the driving force behind Green Bird Anaheim, had visited Tokyo and not only noticed how clean the streets were, but also a Green Bird team picking up trash along the streets. Once back in the states they reached out to Green Bird, so that Anaheim too could promote that a clean city, starts with a little community and a whole lot of city pride.

Left, photo courtesy of Amber Foxx, Ctr, Rt, photo courtesy of Maurice Turner
There were about 45 neighbors decked out in our green jerseys with the official Green Bird logo, orange gloves, bags and trash picking tongs all sent over from Japanese headquarters – how cool is that? We set off in smaller groups in different directions to conquer the litter in the streets of Downtown Anaheim. My group set off East, then North along Broadway and Anaheim Blvd. Like other groups we came across tons of cigarette butts and potato chip bags. I picked up quite a bit of paper from the gutters that was blocking water drainage.

Photo courtesy of green bird Anaheim
At the end of our 2 hour cleanup we compared the most interesting things we found. I think our group took the cake with having found a pair of high heels and beer bottles in some bushes. My personal most interesting find? A can of vegetable soup that had been left in a bush so long ago that the bush started to grow around it. On our walk some of us spoke with community members that were interested in why we were spending our Saturday morning picking up trash. We heard compliments of "good job" to people questioning if we were serving community service hours because we had done something wrong. Isn't it a sad state when picking up trash is seen as punishment instead of helping your community?

Aside from stories of our encounters, we also had a mountain of trash which we displayed at the Anaheim Vegan Faire. We wanted to make a statement of how much litter there was in our streets, but also how much trash a small group of people was able to pick up in 2 hours. Was that pile of trash uncool? Yes. Did it make a point? Totally.

I believe that where there is litter, there is an excess of household waste. If we reduce the amount of trash in our homes, there will be less trash to become litter. The post World War II consumerism culture that remains today has perpetuated the trash problem that exists today. Take for example this clip from Mad Men where a family picnic shows littering as acceptable.

 As I challenge myself to find new ways to reduce waste in my home, I invite you as well to challenge consumerism and waste. If you are just starting out on your waste less journey, join the Beginner’s Challenge, or if you have been going green for a while, join me in the Green Challenge. Every week I’ll post about that week’s challenge, so feel free to comment on the blog or use #WasteLessChallenge on Facebook and Instagram.

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