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Student organizes community waste clean up

Conversations about climate change taking place all over the world. Closer to home, these conversations have reached Pittsburg State.  

PSU student Audrey LaVere, senior in social work, is organizing an event to take action against climate change.  

The event, called “Walking out of Waste,” will start on campus at the Carnie Smith Stadium at 1705 S Joplin, Saturday, Nov. 7.  

“I decided to organize “Walking out of Waste” to allow other students and community members to have the opportunity to take action to combat the climate crisis that our world is currently burdened with,” LaVere said.  

LaVere is hoping that students and community members take responsibility for their part in climate change and to take action by helping with the clean-up.  

“I began picking up waste this summer while I was doing research for my environmental independent study that was focused around recycling and the waste management system that our country currently uses,” LaVere said. “I began to notice that the environment around me was being polluted more than I ever realized, especially with an increase of take-out food, and felt that I needed to do something. While I enjoy picking up waste because of the sense of accomplishment, it is a daunting task that I and the few… others picking up waste can handle. We each need to take responsibility for the products we purchase and use.”  

According to LaVere, this is just the first step in creating global change.  

“While it is great to get our community involved and aware of the problem, this is not only one person or one community’s problem,” LaVere said. “This is a global problem. I believe that the steps of change start on the individual level and try to incorporate the change daily, then involve others around you in the change, all to involve as many people in as many locations as possible to get the largest amount of change as possible. Giving and receiving support for change endeavors is the way I plan to initiate this wide-spread change.” 

Plastic is just one problem of many, but it is also the reason LaVere has continually made an effort to keep the environment clean.  

“There is one fact that has kept me picking up waste and practicing other environmentally conscious actions; every single piece of plastic that has ever been made still exists right now,” LaVere said. “Think about how much plastic that you use per day and all of the places that it could possibly be right now; the ocean, in the soil that grows our food, or maybe in a landfill. The past two years I have really found the person that I want to be and am trying to be daily, this involves loving the planet and everything that is living. As a social worker, I have learned a set of values that have shaped my way of thinking of myself and other individuals, involving love and protection. I have made the same connections to all living things and aim to involve others in the feelings of fulfillment that these beliefs and practices have provided me with.”  

The event on Saturday is not the only way to take action.  

“For those that are not able to attend the event on Saturday, it would be appreciated to share the event and take action literally any time that you are available to,” LaVere said. “The event is not the only day that activists can take action; believe me, there is always waste to be picked up in pretty much any location that you find yourself in. For those that are participating, no matter the day or location that you are in, please take pictures of the waste that you collect and you can also take pictures of the before/after of the environment you pick up, and post them to social media with the #WalkingoutofWaste in the caption to show the world all the action we are taking to save the planet.”  

Climate change isn’t a problem that can be solved in one day., it will take time. But LaVere believes that change begins with small actions.  

“This climate crisis is a very large problem and it is scary to think about,” LaVere said. “Find comfort in knowing that the solution comes with the little actions that we take daily.”  

Those interested can view the event page and find additional information on Facebook at https://fb.me/e/5Z5D4LAsr and on Instagram @mychange_is_yourchange.  

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