Clean and Green in the Forest City

A rallying cry is again rising in the Forest City - a call to beauty, reflected by such serene emerald hearts as London’s city parks - a call that asks us to see them as they should be, and act to make it so.

For nearly 25 years, the ritual has taken place, growing with each expansive heartbeat - this sonorous message to believers in the serenity of our windswept grassy spaces, where lovers may nest their picnics in a new Spring, and children may run barefoot and stain their heels in jade.

Clean and Green

The Clean and Green initiative is a 12-day city-wide effort to clean up London, involving hundreds of volunteers, dozens of businesses, and the city of London.

“What began as a small group of environmentally conscious citizens at Joe Kools over two decades ago has now blossomed outside the city core,” explains Jay Stanford, Director of Environment, Fleet, and Solid Waste of the City of London.

A Message of Community Pride

Much more than simply a cleanup, Clean and Green is a powerful message to do better:

“You take action that suits your needs. You don't need to wait for a special day or that 20 minute piece. Get excited and work with your family, your neighbours, your friends, it's called community pride.”

- Jay Stanford

This cleanup will take place over 12 days, and will emphasize a sense of community responsibility, care for our environment, and respect for one another, featuring fun flash cleanups such as the 20 minute challenge - a call to businesses to make small commitments to take pride in their spaces.

The final event is scheduled to coincide with Earth Day, a celebration of the cradle in which our species grew together, our common mother for whom we are now stewards.

Each year the Clean and Green event follows a theme, and there are many ways people can get involved, both formally and informally. During this time, Londoners are encouraged to do their part in whatever capacity they can, and for those looking to do their part, supplies for cleanup are provided.

On the Clean and Green website, find a cleanup near you to participate in - just show up and join in the fun!

Business Community Partners

The local business community is stepping up, with a growing collaboration involving dozens, including TD, Fanshawe College, Labatt Brewery and Budweiser Gardens.

Businesses participating in the 20-minute cleanup will get a chance to win a pizza lunch by sending pictures of their cleanup efforts to the City, explains Andrea von Wahl, a Career Counsellor and Green Advisory Co-Chair out of Goodwill Industries. Andrea is focused on spreading the message of the event and doing her part to make the event safe and fun for volunteers while working under the umbrella of Goodwill.

You can find Andrea and her team of volunteers working in Watson Park this year.

“I've now been in my house for 10 years and I walk in the park twice a day, so it's really in my face how garbage and waste ends up in the park. That really motivated me to organize a cleanup in my park.”

- Andrea von Wahl

The Power of Youth

“Young people are really involved,” explains Andrea. “There’s definitely lots of older people (myself included) that were always environmentally conscious, but with everything going on with climate change and things that affect the environment,” young people are more involved than ever, with a passionate sense of ownership over the community and world at large, signs of a shift toward a culture of environmental responsibility.

“It gives me hope seeing that young people are getting involved.”

Call to Action

Londoners are encouraged to participate in Clean and Green this year by spreading awareness through sharing media, helping pick up in their local neighbourhood, or participating in the events taking place around the city.  We are blessed to live amidst the beauty of nature in our Forest City, and with that unique gift we are also tasked as stewards of that beauty, so make a contribution, even if its small, because together we can make a difference.

 

Article was written by Ben Switzer.

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