Let’s face it. Trash is everywhere. On the streets, in our rivers, inside of our cars, stuck underneath our shoes, and taking up space in landfills and destroying our oceans. The amount of trash we are responsible for, we being the human race, increases exponentially as you read every word of this brief post.
For the second year in a row I partnered with several like-minded outdoor & conservation based communities for our kayaking river cleanup series in Central Ohio. One80Out Supply did a design of some amazing “Keep Columbus Clean” Tees and three times (once in August, September, and October) we set out on the Scioto River in Columbus and picked up all the trash we could get our hands on.
It’s impossible to pick up all the trash. It’s everywhere. So why try to pick up any of it?
I believe change starts somewhere. Margaret Mead famously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”I agree with her thought process.
If we don’t try to do any one thing we will not accomplish anything.
So what happened as a result of these river cleanups?
Over 150 individuals in Central Ohio paddled or walked the banks of the Scioto River and saw firsthand what happens when trash gets whisked down in a sewer, not picked up off the street, or any other human made decision that pushes garbage towards the waterways. This is important because the river and the banks look clean at first glance. Entrench yourself inside of them more and your viewpoint might change. 150 individuals is a lot of awareness if they all tell five people who tell five people who tell...well you catch my drift I hope.
30 plus volunteers were able to get outside and do something that lights them up in the community. Volunteering has been proven to increase your happiness levels and I’m sure this was no exception.
We got coverage on TV, in blogs, on social media, and more as a result of what we were doing. Once again...awareness spreads...and it can only start with a small group of committed citizens.
Over 75 bags of trash were filled, dozens of tires, cones, bras, scooters, and more were pulled out of the waterways. This harms the creatures in the river, would eventually go to the Gulf of Mexico, and finally into the ocean. The buck stopped there for this trash. It was the equivalent of four filled pickup trucks. That’s a lot of trash that is no longer taking up space in the Scioto River.
The donations mean more kids get to go skiing and kayaking in Central Ohio that would not be able to have the means or the access to do it. HERO USA is one of our partners and we channel all the ticket purchases as a donation to their non-profit. The donations they receive enable them to run a winter program on the ski slopes and a summer program on the rivers in hopes that under resourced youth have a great outdoors experience that will affect them in a positive way for the rest of their lives. (Full transparency in how we underwrite these events is from a sponsorship by my clientPacifico Preservesthat has a belief in protecting Outdoor Adventure in the world. If you would be interested in a paid sponsorship to help underwrite these events in 2020 comment below or drop us a line.)
How about we recap in basic stats?
150 humans paid to pick up trash.
30 volunteers donated their time to help them get on the river to pick up trash.
1000’s of people in Central Ohio saw how dirty the Scioto River is through our online coverage.
75 plus bags of trash were filled at the cleanups.
50 “big ticket” items were hauled out of the river that don’t fit inside the trash bags.
20 kids will be skiing every weekend on Mad River Mountain this winter that wouldn’t be able to without events and awareness to organizations like HERO USA.
I like to let the data do the talking. Did we pick up all of the trash in Central Ohio? Not even close. Was it worth picking up and doing what we did?
If you believe we can only change the course of history in the way in which Margaret Mead suggested then I would say yes every second, and every plastic bag, counted.
Here’s to those statistics growing in 2020. If you missed out on the cleanups this year but want to see a recap of our August eventWATCH IT HERE!
Because Adventure Travel Feeds the Soul, Mike Rudd
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