In spite of the continuing snow and chilly weather, we can be assured that spring will come eventually. And once all the snow has gone completely, the usual residue will be visible — items of discarded trash littering the landscape.
As the weather warms in April and May, the annual cleanup events will take place, during which armies of volunteers will do their part to collect the litter that has accumulated during the winter months. Community groups will participate in the annual Alberta Highway Cleanup program, and in Lethbridge, the Helen Schuler Nature Centre will kick off its annual Coulee Clean-Up campaign on Earth Day, April 22, and continuing throughout May.
These efforts go a long way to move much of the litter which is not only an eyesore, but which, in natural areas such as the Oldman River valley, can pose a hazard to wildlife.
And if a new fitness craze from Sweden that’s gaining a following in Canada ever catches on in Lethbridge and area, it could bolster other cleanup endeavours and really spruce up the community.
It’s called plogging, a term coined from “jogging” and the Swedish phrase “plocka upp,” which means “pick up.” It combines the cardio component of jogging with the bending and stretching involved in picking up items of garbage encountered along the way. Some ambitious participants apparently also fit in a few other exercises while filling up their trash bags.
According to a story by The Canadian Press, there’s a small but zealous following of ploggers in Canada who go so far as to share their trash hauls on social media.
The story quoted one plogger, Vancouver resident and longtime runner Melanie Knight, as saying that plogging appeals to both her fitness desires and her heart for the environment.
“It just seemed like the perfect combination of kind of making a small change while doing something I’m already doing on a daily basis,” Knight said.
“These ocean issues that I face as I work every day as a marine biologist can be incredibly daunting, but feeling like there’s just 10 minutes of work to do … can make it fairly digestible and manageable to feel like you’re making a difference.”
And it does make a difference. With enough people doing it, plogging can make a significant difference.
The CP story notes there’s even a Plogging Canada Facebook, launched by Daniel Fuller, a Stratford, Ont. trainer, that helps other Canadians get in on this environmentally friendly fitness trend that is apparently sweeping the globe. The group has collected about 300 members in a matter of weeks.
The story also quotes a mother in Calgary, Heidi Sinclair, who makes it into a game for her two young children — a type of scavenger hunt — as they race to the next piece of trash.
“You need to set an example. It starts with our kids,” said Sinclair. “Getting fresh air, fitness and care for Mother Nature and their environment … I think it’s so important to teach your children these things.”
Sounds like a win-win situation, and a great idea for others to try … once spring finally arrives to stay.