Principles for Cleaning up a Town
Simple actions around town by a small, dedicated group with a vision add up to big changes. I am writing this to share the ideas around that I've seen exploding as people take responsibility for their towns and environments.
For one, having a town cleanup day every week is an awesome event that serves many purposes. It has seen huge success in towns and cities across the world. Thursdays seem to work the best in order to have a clean town for when everyone is out for the weekend. We get to meetup and make plans for the weekend, too!
Some people pick up trash (which can be done by anyone, anytime). Some also pull the weeds that are sprouting out of the sidewalks. Get the businesses in on it. This event allows people around town to get to know each other. It strengthens the community and it's a blast to all be working towards this goal.
Issues with trash and recycling disposal might arise. But, there are simple solutions. Make sure to ask people before using their cans, it's common courtesy! One option is to wait until a trash night and clean up those streets. Then, you know you will have available cans. Just be respectful and a good neighbor!
Garden clubs are also gaining in popularity. They exchange seeds, educate each other, have meetups (check out the Meetup website and make one), lot cleanups, and work on community garden plots. These clubs can explode in size and can branch off into many sections and other clubs. Churches are great nodes for community gardens throughout town, so get with your church leaders about this.
I've seen these working best when there is input from every single person in the group. Each event should be ended with planning and sharing notes for the next one, or brainstorming new directions.
When groups like these start to come together, the branches of ideas take off. Share your interests with everybodey! New spots to grow food or clean up are suggested. More educational meets get planned. Even starting with two people, the possibilities grow quickly.
A key is to start simple and with as little money as possible. All it takes is a couple of people picking up trash or helping each other to grow food. Many are realizing we have the tools and knowledge, we just need to decide to go do this.
When these groups do it, they are amazed at their impact, the community reaction and speed of growth.