We hear some whisper on our way when they see us pick up cigarette butts, cans, jars of ice and other nuggets that strew the streets and beaches of Nice.
“It’s not for them to do it. It is useless, tomorrow it will be the same. If there were not so many tourists, it would be clean”
So what does this group of people with colorful t-shirts strive for when they collect garbage together after their day’s work, with a big smile on their faces every Wednesday in Nice, France?
Act at one’s own scale
We are all informed today about environmental issues that are increasingly killing our planet and the species that live on it. We feel small and unable to produce the necessary change in the face of large industrialists and governments. However, to act on its scale on the many environmental impacts and to do the plogging (Def: combination of the Swedish word “plocka upp” (pick up) and “jogging”, we collect garbage while jogging) is only an example among many others.
Every week, picking up the waste from the streets of Nice, we have immediate results: the places where we went are cleaner, which gives us a sense of satisfaction. Dedicating this hour to plogging instead of another occupation is a choice that motivates and brings us closer to our ideal.
Long-term results also appear and make us proud. For example, on the route where we have been plogging regularly for a year, the number of waste has decreased relatively and we found these little words hanging on the shrubs:
“This is not an ashtray!”
This shows that we can all drive change on our scale and have an impact.
Our next big impact will be the World Cleanup Day in Nice on September 21st: the world day of waste collection. Last year we collected no less than 3 tons of waste with all participants. To participate in this edition alone, with family or friends, you can find the Facebook event here. Millions of volunteers participate in 157 countries around the world, find one near you!
Raise awareness and educate
During plogging sessions, we have many interactions with passers-by. Some encourage us, ask us what we do and why, others help us spontaneously for a few minutes, etc. Every person who sees us at work is potentially impacted. This is an awareness opportunity. The more we repeat this action, the more the number of people affected grows and gets used to seeing this gesture of pickup.
And who knows, maybe next time one of these passers-by will walk down the street and when this person sees a plastic bottle on the floor he or she will pick it up spontaneously. And even if it’s only one in 10, 50 or 100, it’s already a victory!
Children are welcome to pick up and some parents come with their family. It is very interesting to have the perception of the youngest face this practice. Generally, they are excited and very effective. They see it as a kind of treasure hunt and are on the lookout for any cigarette butts to harvest.
This energy is a real breath of fresh air. Participating in education and raising the awareness of the youngest is essential to build the world of tomorrow.
Having a good time
Beyond citizen action, getting together each week with people from different backgrounds and origins who share the same positive and inspiring vision of change is a treasure! Faced with the depressing news that assails us from all sides, this meetup brings a bubble of energy and laughter in the middle of the week.
With an open and collaborative mindset, we move forward.
People come and go according to their availability and desire. They will always be welcome to the plogging and the glass of wine on the terrace that usually follows the sessions.
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See you soon !
Author: Mèlanie Duclos.