Another Peace Project completed!
Celebrating Earth Day 2013 was a success for the U.S. Servas Staff. A small group of us gathered to clean up our town’s plaza and streets. Our main goal was to pick us as many cigarette butts as we could, as well as any other garbage that we found. Over a short time we each filled up our trash bags with all sorts of trash that was mostly hidden from view. Interesting found objects included:
1 Plastic Snake
2 Children’s Socks (mismatched)
Various Beer and Liquor Containers
& Lots of Cigarette Butts
We were surprised at the amount of cigarette butts laying around our streets which are generally kept clean by our towns people. It just goes to show how litter can go unnoticed and then cause environmental toxicity down the line. For more information about the dangers of toxic litter such as cigarette butts (which don’t biodegrade) please visit http://www.legacyforhealth.org/our-issues/cigarettes-and-the-environment/help-us-stop-toxic-litter
Here are some photos from the project. We would love to hear of any Peace Projects you our fellow Servas members are involved with; let us know!
We have decided on our April Peace Project and want you to join us!
On Sunday April 21st, the day before Earth Day 2013, the U.S. Servas Office is going to host a Toxic Litter Cleanup in our town of Arcata in order to clean up our environment, give back to mother Earth, and raise awareness about one of the most common forms of litter in the United States: cigarette butts.
Inspired by Legacy For Health, Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, and their campaign called “Rethink Butts” we hope to collect and properly dispose of as many cigarette butts as we can in and around our town. Rethink Butts aims to help stop toxic litter and educate the public about the dangers of tobacco waste on the environment, and on human and animal health. We hope to do the same and encourage you to organize a cigarette butt clean up in your area or simply become more conscious of the number of cigarette butts around you.
Below are some thought-provoking quotations from Rethink Butts’ literature:
- “In an increasingly health and environmentally conscious world, cigarette butts remain one of the only socially acceptable forms of littering left.”
- “And they’re the number one littered item on US roadways and the number one item found on beaches and in waterways worldwide.”
- “On Earth Day, April 22nd, more than a billion people in 180 countries around the world will commit to promoting environmental action.”
- “Tobacco litter clean-up is a substantial cost to cities each year.”
- Tobacco “filters are made of a plastic called cellulose acetate which is technically biodegradable under ‘ideal’ conditions, but in practice does not biodegrade when tossed on the street or on a beach. Even under ideal conditions, cigarette filters can take years to breakdown, merely breaking up into small particles of toxic waste.”
- “Cigarette butts are toxic to people and animals” because of the hundreds of chemicals found in cigarettes.
For more information you can go to Rethinkbutts.org to download a fact sheet, a toolkit for promoting awareness in your area, see the PSA video, and have access to many more sources of information about cigarettes and the environment.
We will keep you posted about the meeting time and place for our April 21st Toxic Litter Cleanup, and hope to have you join us! 🙂
A week into April and we at the U.S. Servas Office are busy brainstorming ideas for our upcoming peace projects.
We have recently been inspired by Servas Malawi’s accomplishments at networking, community service, and spreading peace. Over the last year, Servas Malawi has been working with 6 NGOs over the past year, they have created their own SYLE-volunteer programs, and given regular blood donations. If you are interested in traveling to Africa consider staying with a host in Malawi; they are very excited about having people visit from all over the world.
We will keep you posted on our next peace projects! Go visit Malawi!
One of our most dedicated Servas members, Rita Golden Gelman, is planning a cross-country trip in the near future along with like-minded nomads. She and her friends are “planning a 50-state tour of the U.S. to speak to schools, have meetings with leaders, and get as much publicity as possible….online, in print, and on TV and radio….about the value of a Gap Year and international travel in general.” Rita says one of their “strategies is to get local communities to raise money for Gap Year scholarships in their schools.”
As a long time member of Servas, Rita will be informally spreading the word about Servas on the tour as well. We will keep you updated about their journey on our blog in the future.
In the meantime if you are interested in learning more about Gap Years for you or your loved ones the American Gap Association is a great place to start.
Also, check out Rita’s website to get more information about her life as a nomad, her journeys with Servas, and her books.
Follow your fellow Servas travelers on their six month journey creating music in South America. Live vicariously through them, read about their adventures and listen to the music by subscribing to their blog “Follow The Song”. Just click the link below.