It had been time for the first YEP Meeting in Austria. And as we wanted to act for the Green Wave as well, we connected those two events. On the first day we spent hiking in the beautiful Alps, where we got to know each other better and talked about Pangaea.
Saturday, the 24th was the Big Day. First we had decided to have a picnic without producing any trash. In the local market hall the merchants gave us strange looks, but handed out cheese, bread, fruit and sausage without its packaging. The whole group sat down in a park, enjoyed the late summer day and when we finished eating, only the peel of a melon was left… It’s great to see that it’s possible to eat completely without polluting the environment!
We stayed in the park and tried a little experiment: we put a half-full bottle (trash) onto the ground next to a bin right in peoples’ way. Then we sat down nearby and watched how people would react. Most of the 320 people we counted just walked by and didn’t even look at the trash- bottle. Only two picked it up and threw it away. Five times we stood up and asked why people had acted that way. The men who threw the bottle away said that recycling is important because it saves resources and that they wanted the city to look clean.
The most common excuse for not picking up the trash was time: “We are in a hurry.” It takes a maximum of 30 seconds to pick up that bottle!
Again: Only two out of over three hundred people threw the garbage away!
Then we started collecting trash in the downtown area. First we thought we wouldn’t find a lot. But there were thousands of cigarettes, many plastic bottles, wrapping paper and even a baby sock! The river Inn was especially dirty… by the evening we had filled four bags of trash.
We also painted chalk footprints on the ground that led to the dustbins. A lot of people showed interest in what we’re doing and all the day we handed out Pangaea flyers.
We were all happy to share the project and act locally!
- Date: 23/09/2011- 25/09/2011
- Location: Innsbruck, Austria; 47°16′N, 11°24′E
- YEPs Involved: Sophia Paul, Mario Löscher, Tiziana Gees, Magdalena Gruendl, Ansgar Fellendorf, Stephanie Adelwöhrer, Martin Heidinger, Harold Schaefer, Thomas Heigl, Diana Paul