“I am only one, but still I am one, I cannot do everything, but I can do something, and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”
Edward E. Hale
Who knew a walk on the beach on New Year’s Eve could lead to this! On 31st December 2019 we went for a walk on our local beach. We took a bag to pick up any trash we saw and were struck by how quickly we filled it up with plastics swept in on the tide. We asked ourselves, ‘What if everyone did the same?’. What if everyone out for a walk took a bag and filled it with the litter that they saw.
So we set a goal. To collect, or inspire other people to collect, 2020 bags of litter in 2020. The kids made posters, we set up an Instagram account and we went out every day to collect litter around our town. By January 15th we had 27 bags towards our target … and they were mainly from us! We resigned ourselves to the fact that we might only collect 366 bags this year if no one else joined in, but figured we’d at least learn a lot and maybe teach our kids some valuable life lessons along the way. Then, more and more people started to get involved and friends, neighbors, family, and an amazing community on social media that had heard about what we were doing. The momentum was building.
With people joining in from more than 20 different countries around the world, we hit 2020 bags of litter on 11th April 2020. Excited by the ripple effect that was happening, we decided to keep going and increased our goal to 10,000. With more than 500 people participating, we ended up hitting this in August... and then reached 20,000 bags on 25th November – nearly ten times our original goal - with more than 1,100 people getting involved.
#just1bag2020 isn’t just about tracking how many bags we can collect! It’s about inspiring people to make a difference and change their habits… so we also set a goal to inspire 2,020 collectors to get involved. With a huge push in December 2020, the #just1bag community helped us add 950+ collectors, which meant by the end of 2020, 2,142 people had joined in, collecting 24,235 bags.
In 2021 we turned this into over 50,000 bags of litter cleared by over 4200 people on all seven continents around the world. That is a huge amount of trash no longer floating in our oceans, going down our drains, or caught in our trees. Thank you to every single person who picked up a bag and filled it with rubbish.
You can read more about our journey and what we've learned in the process here.
Our goal now, with the help of the community who are supporting us, is to grow this movement to 5,000+ turning a ripple into a tidal wave. Small steps lead to big changes.