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Cleaning up Elmira, one trash bag at a time

Think globally, act locally. From tree planting to river cleanups, the work being done in this area is part of a worldwide environmental movement.

Taking the local part to heart, seven-year-old Hope Tupling created the Garbage Club, with a goal of cleaning up the trash she sees around Elmira.

After learning in kindergarten the impact our discarded trash has on the planet and its animal inhabitants, Hope began to pick up garbage around her schoolyard during breaks. With some inspiration from her father, she recruited her sister to the cause.

“So, what inspired me was my dad brought it up to me, and I started to do it with my sister. But when my sister went to our grandparents’ house, I decided to try to start a club – we have some next-door neighbours we’re really good friends with them, and I asked them if they were interested in [joining me]. They were, so we started,” Hope explained of the club’s origins.

With her friends on board, she started the initiative last weekend, with the girls picking up about 12 bags of litter.

Hope says doing this work makes her feel like she is helping the world because there is just so much garbage piled up.

Hope’s mother Anna Tupling says she is extremely proud of her daughter for the work she is doing and following through with something about which she is so passionate.

“We’re really proud of her because we know that it’s something that’s important to her especially now more than ever with the state that our world is in. She feels really strongly about it. She’s following through, she wants to make the difference and she’s taking that initiative in whatever way she can to make the difference. We’re really proud and we want her to know too that like a lot of times people think that small actions don’t matter, but her small actions will matter,” said Tupling.

She notes Hope loves school, but also cannot wait for it to be over so she can spend her break picking up garbage around the town. She even sees this as being something which will give Hope something to do in case her usual activities are put on hold because of COVID-19.

“She’s talked about creating posters to post around the neighbourhood to inform other people about the importance of picking up their own litter and keeping it clean. [She is] also [talking about] advertising a little bit for their club so that they know that there are people who are looking out for the Earth and picking up garbage. I can see it lasting all throughout the summer as well,” Tupling added.

Looking ahead, Hope says she wants to finish cleaning up Elmira and move on to other areas within the region.

Tupling says there is a lot to work out moving forward including starting social media pages and buying more equipment for the girls, and they are going to begin looking into everything to make their initiative thrive.

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