On March 18th, EarthTeam, Friends of Sausal Creek and other local community members came together and for a Litter March. Friends of Sausal Creek is a volunteer-based, nonprofit, community organization committed to advocating awareness, appreciation and stewardship of Oakland’s Sausal Creek Watershed. They work to restore, maintain and protect the Sausal Creek Watershed, which drains to the San Francisco Bay. This Litter March was a good way of engaging the community because we were able to catch people’s attention and bring awareness to them by just occupying their sidewalks and picking up litter.
We first started off by meeting up at Josie de la Cruz park and from then was given an introduction from Oakland High’s EarthTeam interns about the importance of educating ourselves and others around us about the effects of litter and preventing litter. We were there to remind and empower locals to stop littering by marching down the sidewalks with bright neon vests, signs with anti-litter slogans, trash pickers and trash bags picking up trash as we made our way towards Cesar Chavez Park.
My favorite part of the day was arriving to Cesar Chavez Park and seeing the before and after of us picking up all the trash. There was such a huge improvement after we left and it made me very pleased to leave a park cleaner than it was before so that children, that were there at the time, could be able to play at a clean and safe area.
Besides that, as I marched down the sidewalk holding my sign and participating in EarthTeam chants, it made me very happy being outside and advocating for an environmental issue that many, including myself, tend to ignore on our day to day basis. It felt good being surrounded around and interacting with people who were working towards the same goal of uplifting our community and reducing litter bit by bit. Honestly, the challenging part was not being able to pick every single piece of litter up that we saw. There were areas where a group of us would spend an extended amount of time trying to pick up every single piece but were nudged to move on to be able to catch up with our big group.
Although we were not able to pick up every piece of litter, we were still able to make a collaborative impact on our community. The biggest thing I took away from this event was not only to encourage others to stop littering but to also focus on educating children and people our age because we are the future. Seeing kids peek their heads out their windows and stand out on their porches curious about what the substantial group of people in bright vests were doing in their neighborhood warmed my heart because although it may be small, we were able to connect with them and hopefully somehow inspire them to get involved with environmental issues in their community.
Written By: Bella, SLZ Intern
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LEADERSHIP I STEWARDSHIP I SERVICE