The social media landscape is littered with people complaining. And Ethan Beck, of Elizabethtown, got a little tired of it.
“Everyone is always complaining that we need to do something about the environment,” says Beck, 27. “Saying ‘This is the only planet we have,’ but I never saw anything being done.”
So Beck decided to clean up the planet by taking the matter into his own hands. The matter being litter. He harnessed the power of social media and, in April of 2019, created a Facebook event for people to take a couple hours out of their Sunday and go out wherever they were and pick up some trash.
He received some positive feedback.
“A bunch of people were like, ‘Hey, this is an awesome idea. You should keep doing this,’” says Beck.
So he made the event a regular occurrence, the second Sunday of every month, and encouraged people to go out and pick up trash.
And he’s encouraging everybody to participate - from dedicated environmentalists to people who have community service requirements to folks just looking for a reason to get outside.
Beck says he has no idea how much trash he’s cleaned up since he began doing this, but it’s “more than I wanted to.”
“There’s times when I go for a walk and fill six or seven trash bags,” he says.
Once he collects the trash, he goes home and sorts through the bags to separate the recyclables from the trash.
Beck works as a FedEx driver and owns his own business called Beck’s Critter Capture. He’s an avid hunter and fisherman and loves being outdoors.
“I’m always out in the woods,” says Beck. “So I see trash along the river and I know that’s not good. Sometimes I think (my fishing line) is snagged on a rock or a log, but I’m pulling in trash that was at the bottom of a creek. You know that’s not healthy for the fish.”
Beck says he wants to be able to keep enjoying nature – and wants future generations to enjoy it.
“You’ve got to take care of nature and it will take care of you,” says Beck. “Don’t trash it, and you and your kids and your kid’s kids will be able to enjoy it.”
The news and social media are often citing statistics that seem to suggest the Earth is too far gone, but with more people like Beck who are willing to go out and make sure the Earth is a cleaner place, maybe that’s not the case.
“I think we can turn it around,” says Beck.