Utopihen Talk

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Baltimore Trash Cleanup

Cleaning up streets is one of the easiest (dare we say fun) ways to contribute to your community and help maintain beauty on our planet.

In mid-November, a group of us had the opportunity to do a trash cleanup in the city of Baltimore. We spent several hours picking up garbage, clearing brush, sweeping, and raking the walkway. It felt great to get outdoors in the sunlight and do some good for the community. The streets were very dirty so sprucing them up to make them cleaner, more walkable and enjoyable, made us feel like we had contributed to making the world a little better.

Why cleanup Trash?

Without a doubt, waste is a huge problem in our world. You can see it in our oceans, beaches, and streets. We knew it was an issue prior to our trip, but until we got out in the community and spent some time picking up garbage, we hadn’t fully realized how much trash cleanups are needed.

Trash on our streets is bad for our communities and planet. Not only does it look bad, but it is also dirty and unhealthy. Between hazardous materials being left on sidewalks and toxins being released into the air, garbage littering walkways creates an unhygienic habitat. Having trash thrown on the sidewalk as opposed to recycling and doing our part, damages our environment, poses dangers to wildlife, and puts our health and the health of those around us at risk. (earthday.org) These are just some of the effects dirty streets have on our world.

What is BMORE Beautiful?

BMORE Beautiful is a “city led, peer-to-peer beautification program” in the city of Baltimore. As we were looking for a place to clean up trash, we reached out to BMORE Beautiful. We appreciated the work they had been doing in their community, and we wanted to partner with them.

Launched by the City of Baltimore in 2017, this program works alongside people in the community to make their streets more beautiful. Comprised largely of volunteers from over 45 surrounding communities, this program aims to recruit volunteers, organize beautification cleanups, lead others to change how they view and approach city cleanliness and educate others to keep their neighborhoods clean. (BMORE Beautiful)

After a couple emails, a zoom call, and some phone calls we were able to schedule a time that worked best for both of our schedules (and avoided the rain). Morgan, a community garden liaison for Baltimore city kindly met us on site and helped with the cleanup. We look forward to future cleanups with BMORE Beautiful.

Duncan Street Miracle Garden

The location for our street cleanup was Duncan Street Miracle Garden, a community garden in east Baltimore. Founded in 1988, this garden has become a beautiful plot of land filled with greenery, fruits and vegetables. Lewis Sharpe, the garden’s appointed manager was at the trash cleanup as well. He helped us as we “beautified” one of the streets that borders this beautiful community garden.

Mr. Sharpe has described Duncan Street Miracle garden as “the lungs of the neighborhood”. It’s a small oasis of green in the midst of urban Baltimore. Because of this garden, people can escape the city life and convene in a gated garden to plant some vegetables and enjoy the beauty of nature. A spot like this is so important in a community, and we were thankful for the chance to contribute.

Utopihen Trash Cleanup

All in all, this trash cleanup was a complete success. We arrived at Duncan Street around 10 and spent 3 hours cleaning the street, trash grabber and garbage bags in hand. We laughed, goofed off, and worked really hard. The difference we saw when we were done was striking. The streets went from being littered with empty cans, bottles, food and candy wrappers, etc. to being a clean and beautiful place to walk. Making our world more beautiful isn’t hard when we all work together and take the condition of our streets and world seriously.

We are always looking for these kinds of opportunities. Whether it’s a trash cleanup, planting trees, or just being neighborly. Helping communities stay clean and beautiful is just one way to make our planet the best home it can be.

What Can you do to Make a Difference?

So, now it’s your turn! What does your community need? Is there trash on your streets or in a neighboring community? If so, take the time to make the world a better place by volunteering your time. You don’t have to spend hours or even partner with a city organization. Just take a trash bag and go on a walk. Enjoy nature and contribute to the beauty as you go, one piece of trash at a time. It’s these small steps that make our world better, healthier, and more beautiful.


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