Everyone loves a good challenge, especially an international one that transcends boundaries and connects people via the internet. The viral online #trashtag challenge has done just that. In the last few months eager volunteers, conscious of their impact on climate change, gathered together and took part in the #trashtag challenge by cleaning up their beaches, parks, and roads in their communities and posting their before and after pictures online. This challenge was done to raise awareness of the quantity of plastic litter that international society produces.
SB Overseas has taken part in this international movement both in our Lebanon centers and here in Brussels. In our Saida Centre in Lebanon, 1st Grade students were given a lesson on trash collection and recycling distribution. This new found skills were then put to the test when they took a school trip to the Saida beach where a litter-cleaning activity was conducted. Our center in Beirut did a similar exercise in their respective beaches. The project aimed to take part in the international movement but to also engage children from an early age on the positive and negative impact they can have on the environment. This activity presented a valuable lesson: there is plenty of work to be done, but with the right precautionary measures and the willingness to take care of our planet, the work can be lessened, and the act of cleaning can bring a community together.
SB Espoir also conducted a session of recycling activities with our Brussels teams working in the Woluwe-Sainte-Pierre and Uccle Centres. The activities aimed to engage the youth in the ethical ways of disposing of waste by teaching them the basics of recycling and garbage sorting pertinent to the Brussels community. Then the creative part came, in which the youth participated in fun Do-It-Yourself projects using common but rarely recycled materials such as papers and plastic cups to create something new. The leftover waste was viewed not just as a material to be recycled, but a material that could be reused to create something new and innovative.
Both activities, spanning over kilometers of distance, presented a new issue that permeates our international communities: the existence of a waste hierarchy, in which many individuals refuse to reduce, reuse, and recycle their waste. In many cases, this occurs due to the lack of awareness and knowledge regarding the impact each individual has on our immense planet. Recycling is an excellent way to jump-start community involvement, but education on the fundamental values of waste reduction is just as important. SB OverSeas recognizes education as a valuable tool and has actively incorporated the importance of preventative climate change measures in our education curriculum. The youth is the future; we must provide them with the knowledge they need to care for the planet.