On Tuesday 13 March at 9am a team of 5 environmental crusaders known as team Viridis descended on the Murarrie Recreational Reserve to take part in Clean Up Australia Day.
With Captain James at the helm, we used our elbow grease, imagination and team work to reclaim trolleys from the bog, bottles and chairs from the creek and all other manner of recklessly discarded refuse from the parkscape.
Despite the rain, we all thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to share in such a worthy experience together and ultimately give back to the precious environment that sustains our life so valuably.
Now a well known annual event, Clean Up Australia day has been running since 1989 when one man, Ian Kiernan, had the idea to “Clean Up Sydney Harbour” following his participation in the BOC Challenge Solo Round the World Yacht Race. Upon his return home, he had been moved to make a difference having witnessed first hand, the large volumes of waste present in the open seas.
At the inaugural clean up event, over 40,000 volunteers gave their time to clean up our glorious Sydney Harbour and with such success on his coat tails, Ian was moved to roll this initiative out to the rest of the country. The following year, just shy of 300,000 Aussies showed up to clean up our great southern land.
In 1993, Ian, with the assistance of the United Nations Environmental Programme saw his small venture extended to the rest of the planet as Clean Up the World was launched by the hands of 30 million people across 80 countries.
Did you know that in one year, the quantity of rubbish generated by the everyday family in Australia is enough to fill a three bedroom home? And unfortunately a large percentage of the refuse we generate never actually makes its way to landfill with an excess of 13,000 fragments of plastic litter estimated to be floating in every square kilometre of the oceans surface.
You may remember the three R’s from the early nineties, well now we have four:
Refuse – say no to options that don’t align with ethical sustainability. It’s all about supply and demand and the less plastic bottles, plastic bags and packaging we consume, the less will be produced.
Reduce – get back to the good old days and the good old ways, when new wasn’t always better and we didn’t buy throw-away-everything. Shift your mindset to invest in quality over quantity and you’ll find that you need to replace less frequently, in turn lowering the strain you put on our planet not just in reducing the amount of waste you generate, but also in reducing the amount of resources required to produce your purchases before they even cross your threshold.
Reuse – re-purpose your consumables until they can be used no longer. Plastic bags, plastic containers and cardboard boxes can always be reused. Remember one persons trash is another person’s treasure and there will always be someone willing to take your hand me downs out of your hands.
Recycle – glass bottles and jars, aluminium cans, cardboard and paper are only a small percentage of what can be recycled. There are depositories for used mobile phones, batteries, printer cartridges and so much more. The Clean Up Australia website provides a fact sheet on what can and can’t be recycled here.
Lastly, I would encourage you to GET INVOLVED! To know that you have made a difference is truly the most fulfilling experience.
Now in it’s 29th year, the values behind Clean Up Australia Day are as strong as ever; all it takes is one person to stand up and kick start a movement that can span the world. Clean Up Australia started with Ian, where we go from here, starts with us.