Back in 1993, Clean Up the World was formed by Ian Kiernan as a non-profit, non-government-affiliated organization aiming to support the protection of the environment. They host an annual event that was not only created to implement and vouch for eco-conscious initiatives, but also to bridge gaps and establish bonds between individuals and communities in places all over the globe. In total, Clean Up the World operates in six different regions: West Asia, Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe, Latin America & the Caribbean, and North America. Though each region is extraordinarily diverse, the concept of protecting and bettering our dwellings is inherently universal.
This organization parallels with other closely related projects such as World Cleanup Day (established in Estonia in 2008), both of which fall around the same time of the year. Over the last 26 years, the Clean Up the World organization has completed 49,205 projects spread across 133 countries, averaging over 35 million volunteers. In the United States, notable groups can be found in Vermont and Connecticut, where individuals come together to collect rubbish from roads and local parks. In Washington D.C., there is also a large focus on tree planting activities.
The most direct way to play your part is to join and/or organize an event in your area. By visiting their website, you can register your idea and once approved, you become a CUW member and gain access to all of their offered resources (guides, ideas and official event logos). If you aren’t able to get involved on the designated weekend, they strongly encourage you to at least share their goals to your social media accounts, or simply by word of mouth.
Since its inception, Clean Up the World has had a partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)—”the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment”. They not only garner publicity by endorsing the cause, they also distribute media materials to support the annual event. Founder Ian Kiernan was recognized for his part in leadership and environmental work, and he was also awarded the UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize in 1998 for his part in encouraging and inspiring millions worldwide to take care of their environment.
Let’s aim to not limit such measures to one weekend out of the year—if we band together and take the necessary actions to achieve our goals, we can permanently implement better ways of living that will in turn benefit the world and humanity as a whole. In the end, it’s all a matter of changing harmful behaviors in favor of easily made swaps such as beeswax wraps in the place of plastic wrap or replacing your plastic, single use straws for reusable and recyclable glass ones!