#YYC Earth Day cleanup: What we found may surprise you

Earth rise (Photo by NASA, Wikimedia Commons)

Earth rise (Photo by NASA, Wikimedia Commons)

April 22, 2014 | by Christine Beevis Trickett

In some ways, every day is Earth Day when you work at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) — our very mandate means that we are constantly thinking, planning for and even working in some of the planet's most beautiful landscapes. So needless to say, the Earth is very much on our minds.

But Earth Day, launched in 1970 and celebrated on April 22nd each year, is an attempt to stop and think about the planet and the environment on a global scale, and to reflect on the impact of our actions on the Earth. It's a celebration of our planet and all that it provides us.

So today, a group of staff from the Calgary office stepped away from our desks during the lunch break and headed outside with garbage bags to do a cleanup of the block surrounding our building.

However, our little squad of litter pickers also took the opportunity to spread the word about Earth Day, with one colleague greeting curious passers-by with an enthusiastic chant of "Happy Earth Day!" Not many folks had realized the significance of the day, so we got some bemused stares, although one gentleman kindly took the time to pick up some litter before going on his way.

Here's a list of just a few of our more interesting finds:

  • A pair of Wrangler jeans
  • Two black socks (not found next to each other)
  • One woolen mitten (if we'd continued another block, we might have found a whole outfit!)
  • A pedicure brush
  • Toothpaste
  • A toothbrush 
  • Half of a bike lock
  • Half of a comb
  • A phone cable splitter
  • A ticket for public intoxication
  • A compass on a carabiner

By the time we had circled the block and made it back to the entrance, we'd filled two grocery bags and one big black garbage bag with litter we'd found along our route. It really is amazing how once you start looking for litter, it's there all around you. Even once we'd left our garbage in a bin, we still continued to pick up garbage we encountered on our way back to the office.

Needless to say, there was more litter there than we could clean up in half an hour, and this wasn't going to change the habits of the folks who think nothing of dropping litter on the ground rather than carrying it to a garbage bin. But we felt good to step away from the ordinary foe even just half an hour and think about our little blue planet and all it does for us.

Happy Earth Day from the NCC team in the Calgary office!

Christine Beevis Trickett

About the Author

Christine Beevis Trickett is the director of editorial services for the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Read more about Christine Beevis Trickett.

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