In late January 2021, Change the End’s founders, Ayla and Ada, decided to do a small cleanup at the Alameda Creek Trail by themselves for some bonding time. Ada went on regular runs on the trail, so she knew it—or at least the seven-mile stretch of it nearest her house—like the back of her hand. Most of the trail was fairly clean and pleasant, but the areas next to and under the bridges sporadically crossing the trail were littered with trash. Ayla and Ada got to work on one such area and cleaned for four or five hours, often needing to double-bag their eco-friendly, compostable trash bags to prevent them from ripping under the weight of so much trash. The two of them filled eight absolutely stuffed bags before they had to call it a day, at which point they had managed to clean about three-fourths of the litter lying next to that one bridge.
Change the End highly encourages individuals to conduct their own personal cleanups, just like Ayla and Ada did. Grab a couple friends, trash bags, and gloves, and unleash your fearsome cleaning power on a polluted area near you. It can be a simultaneously fun and productive way to spend time with your friends: While you’re cleaning, you can discuss video games, climate legislation, or how you’re a failure who’s never going to get into college. Holding your own personal cleanup also spares you the nail-biting suspense of waiting for Change the End’s next organized volunteer day (of which there will be many, so keep a lookout)!
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