It’s time to clean up this town!

Spring has arrived in Leaside in all its glory! Mother Nature never fails to disappoint. Walking around the neighbourhood, I see the signs everywhere. Trees in bud. Daffodils, snowdrops, crocuses and tulips peeking their heads out in front gardens. Insects buzzing. Birds chirping. Grass greening. Squirrels scurrying. Winter hibernation is finally over and spring renewal has begun.

Sadly, the other signs of spring are also apparent and they are not quite as joyful. Lost mittens, baggies of half eaten snacks, dog booties, tissues and paper napkins, the ubiquitous takeaway coffee cups and plastic water bottles, candy wrappers, drink boxes, soda cans, cigarette packages and butts, and other miscellaneous detritus are strewn about on yards, streets, roads and parks. Some are remnants of garbage and recycling days gone awry, others unknowingly dropped and others consciously pitched. Not a pretty sight. And that’s just Leaside I’m talking about!

According to Wikipedia, “Mother Nature is a personification of nature that focuses on the life-giving and nourishing aspects of nature by embodying it, in the form of a mother or mother goddess.” Mother Nature gives us so much. All she asks is that we “keep our rooms clean,” as all mothers are inclined to do.

Thankfully the City of Toronto is providing us with the opportunity, April 19-24, to come together as a community for the annual spring cleanup. Friday is the 20-Minute Makeover where we’re encouraged to pick a public space that needs our help, such as a park, sidewalk or ravine.

No shortage of those here in Leaside! Beautify your own front sidewalk, curbside or block. Lend a helping hand while your kids are playing in your favourite park. Clean up along your regular dog walking route. Pitch in at the community centre when you take your kids to their hockey game or swimming lesson. Surely each of us can spare 20 minutes to “clean our rooms.” Saturday and Sunday are opportunities for community groups and families to have some fun and make the cleanup into a game or scavenger hunt. Schools are encouraged to organize cleanups on April 22 in celebration of Earth Day. Thank you, teachers and school admins.

Being a “Waterloo mathie,” I did some quick calculations to assess the potential impact if we all did our part. Let’s say that each of the 10,000 households that receive Leaside Life picked up just one piece of litter. Likewise for the at least 1,000 people who work here and the approximately 2,000 students who attend local schools. That’s a whopping 13,000 pieces of litter that could be eliminated in less than a single minute. Extrapolate that to 20 minutes, and we could eliminate 260,000 pieces of litter in the 20-Minute Makeover alone. It’s so simple and easy, yet it boggles the mind!

I’ve got my gloves and garbage bags ready … how about you? Let’s get busy. Leaside needs us, Toronto needs us, and the planet needs us. And of course, we always want to make our mothers proud.

About Cheryl Vanderburg 45 Articles
Cheryl Vanderburg writes the monthly column "Leaside Litterati." She is a local 'plogger' who combines her love of walking with picking up litter. She hopes to inspire all Leasiders to join this newest craze to stay fit and keep our neighborhood green and clean.