As you might have heard about Plogging come from Sweeden. To make it short, Plogging is a portmanteau of the words “jogging” and the Swedish phrase “plocka upp,” or “pick up,” plogging has a simple premise: while you’re jogging, you just pick up any trash you see along the way.
I discovered and practiced this activity even before knowing the name. After many years being upset by all the trash I use to see around me, and after questioning myself about what can we do about it, I started to collect the trashes naturally while I was running or walking, to dispose them in a proper place. The activity is quite an healthy things to do , and in the same time its rewarding to do something that is good for our environment. Doing it with other peoples make you feel even better. The feeling to do something together and see the result immediately is really rewarding and inspiring.
But this is not as easy as it sounds. There can be some really challenging time and one of the worst will be the lost of motivation you can get when you face the big amount of trash everywhere. Imagine that you come regularly in the same place and that the work you did few days ago is like useless because the place you cleaned is back in a state of “chaos” with plastic all around again. Then you start to pick up again and you see people around you who wonder why you do what you do. Another hard time I use to encounter is when I travel….and I travel quite a lot. Looking at the place you leave and trying to clean it, its already something challenging like I already wrote. But , when you travel, sometimes in really amazing places, and you see that so many areas are affected…… Its not about one place worst than another , or a country worst than another, its a global problem that we are facing. There are more and more people concern with this problem, but we are still far , really far to be enough to make the big change. When I see all those wasted places, sometimes, I wonder if what I do really has a meaning.
For sure, if our work in this domain is just about collecting the trash, it will never work. This must be the starting point, but there must be other following actions to make a real change.
- Collect and educate. When I run around and collect the plastic, I try to stop and explain people what Im doing and why Im doing it. I expect that by giving the exemple and explaining, they might change their behaviour. Also, some of them try to take a discret picture of the strange foreigner collecting plastic, so I stop and encourage them to take a nice pic and to post it on the social media with some explanation about what the strange guy is doing. Lately, one of my wife friend saw my post on Wechat ( the Chinese social media ). He decided to repost my pictures. the result was that some people in his surrounding contacted me to join my next action. I hope that later they will make post of their action, and spread the message to their friend. this is a way to have a positive Viral Impact.
- If we want to get rid of plastic and make the change, the best is to use less. Refuse plastic bag, straw, glass, bottles etc…. and replace them by reusable items. When I travel now, I have my reusable bottle. In the hotels I use to stay, their use to be a boiler, so …. I boil the water in the evening and refill my bottle the next day with it. If I dont have enough, I go in some restaurants and ask for boiled water or potable water. I never get any people who refuse me that service. Its only with a proactive and educative action that we will be able to have a real significative impact.
- As I am in the travel industry, and that Im travelling quite a lot, I need and want to develop travel product in relation with this problem and not just act in the city I live, but anywhere I go. People can travel, visit places and collect plastic and/or educate people in the same time. Repeating what I do in other places, convince locals, act with tourist, have an impact with every one we meet, the locals and the travellers is my way to spread the message and hopefully have an impact.
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