Written by Tuesdays for Trash Co-Founder Sharona Shnayder
For many reasons, 2021 has been branded as a year of renewal and hope. It has been ushered in with the election of a new U.S. President and the promise of a COVID-19 vaccine to end our long-battle with the woes of pandemic. But simultaneously we continue to be bombarded with the threat of an immense crisis wielding sea level rise, wildfires, and global warming as its weapons of choice.
It hasn’t been until recent that we’ve seen some semblance of hope for this crisis, from increasing progressive actions to mitigate its causes while many activists and organizations begin leading campaigns to raise awareness, we can feel a bit more optimistic about the trajectories of our futures on this planet.
One of these organizations breaking down this immense threat for the everyday individual to tackle is Tuesdays for Trash (T4T); a global grassroots environmental movement addressing the waste management aspect of the climate crisis and encouraging everyone to dedicate at least one day a week for the planet.
This movement was started in May of 2020 by two Portland, Oregon activists, Sharona Shnayder and Wanda McNealy. It was their way to positively serve their communities while being safe and responsible during the quarantine.
Ever since, the concept has skyrocketed with participants spanning 6 continents.
What first started as a way to give back to community has turned into a gateway for activism across all spectrums of climate justice, with particular focus on intersectionalism, uplifting women and BIPOC activists, as well as empowering the younger generations to lead the fight towards climate justice.Sharona Shnayder, co-Founder of Tuesdays for Trash
Despite being less than a year old, the movement already has 4 chapters with more underway and is setting some impressive goals for the future.
These goals include having people in all 7 continents cleaning up trash with T4T(currently only missing Antarctica), gaining local and international recognition from world leaders about the movement and the impact its having, and lastly having a role in influencing legislation or climate policies that reduce the amount of waste created on this Earth(e.x. a global ban on plastic).
When asked why the movement founders are so passionate about the act of picking up trash, they cite the notion that small acts of change when multiplied can transform the world.
What they’ve discovered is that taking part in this litter picking experience puts you intimately close with pollution in a way that you normally wouldn’t interact with it and it highlights the problem in a way you can’t forget:
- You become more attuned to the issue after finding 50 cigarette butts or plastic bottles
- You establish a connection with your environment that makes you hurt to see it trashed or harmed, and it in turn changes the way you go about your daily life.
- It can also be an exciting and fun experience for all those that participate when elements such as art, food, and memes are added to the mix.
Trash is something unfortunately found everywhere on the planet but this allows for anyone in the world to participate and help make the litter problem more visible so it’s no longer acceptable.
For those who may be intimidated to join the fight, it’s important to remember that there’s no way to be a perfect environmentalist in our society…but there is always a way to take action.Sharona Shnayder, Tuesdays for Trash co-Founder
Now before you head out on your journey to making this Earth a healthier and cleaner home for us all, there are a few safety aspects to consider.
Although picking up trash is a fun and easy activity to partake in, it shouldn’t be enacted without taking proper precautions—especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some helpful tips the movement recommends to stay safe are:
- Using protective equipment (gloves, masks).
- Limit pick up groups with friends and family to 6 people.
- Maintain social distancing whenever possible.
- They also curated a comprehensive list of best practices to remain mindful of while helping clean your communities.
So let’s all get out there, take care of our neighborhoods, cities, and the planet in the hopes that future generations never have to begin their lives with the fear of a climate crisis looming over them.
If you’re inspired by the Tuesdays for Trash movement, consider registering for our Run for the Planet event this March 16, and register for your chance to win prizes!