Do it together and feel the beauty of cooperation is so inspiring and gives people hope to really tackle huge problems
“You could go out with your own team on the 15th of September 2018 and make sure the world would be cleaner place.”
- July 11, 2018 13:00
- Monika Dimitrova
Katrin Kurg was born in Saatse, Põlvamaa, Estonia. Studied Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation at the University of Tartu. Katrin is Regional Development Support in Europe & Eastern Partnerships Countries at Let's Do It Foundation. It's a civil society movement taking stewardship of the place we call home - our regions, our countries, our world. First by mapping and cleaning up the illegal waste littering our countryside. Then by delving deeper into the problems why we are wasting so much. More than 20 million volunteers and countless number of organizations have participated in Let's Do It World cleaning events in making the dream of a clean world a reality.
On September 15, 2018, World Cleanup Day, people in 150 countries will stand up against the global trash problem and clean up waste, making it the biggest positive civic action the world has seen. This year, bTV Media Group's emblematic initiative Let`s Clean Bulgaria Together became part of the largest civil action in the world. A powerful “green wave” with hundreds of millions of people taking positive action together on the very same day.
What drives one young girl to make the world a better place to live?
Throughout my lifetime there has been always a deep and profound interest towards nature. So starting to volunteer besides my studies in the Let’s Do It! movement lead to know many amazing people and let me combine my passion – nature protection with my every day work.
The initiative began in Estonia, and over the years has become a very significant event for the country, even the president and prime minister have joined in person. How did you achieve this success?
Yes, already in the first year of the action our former president Mr. Toomas Hendrik Ilves was participating and our current president Ms. Kersti Kaljulaid is supporting fully the World Cleanup Day action.
In the first year of the action back in 2008 – the organizing team was mentioned to be like a mafia so nobody could say no to them.
Estonia is very small country and here is really easy to know everyone or at least to approach someone if you do not know yet. It’s the matter of believing enough into your idea and your real wish to really make it happen.
Which are the best-performing EU countries involved in the initiative?
Slovenia has our record so far since 2010 – 14,5% of their population came out on one day to clean up their country from the illegal waste.
However we have many other strong performers in Europe who have done many years their 5% population involvement cleanups like Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Kosovo and Albania.
You mentioned Bulgaria, you recently visited the country. What are your impressions?
I had a short one day visit to Sofia. I was invited to represent the Let's Do It! World global movement at our Bulgarian partner bTV partners acknowledgement event. So I didn´t have much time to look around, however on the other hand I met many warmhearted people, who really do their job with full passion. I believe passion is something that will drive great changes. I really enjoyed my last trip to there, can't wait to see the Bulgarian nature one day - and hopefully it will be waste free.
How has the Cleanup changed over the years?
Many countries have started to pick specific topics for the cleanups, also including the educational activities. For example in Estonia we don´t organize annually anymore cleanups, but we call it civic action day – where you can come out with your neighbors, friends, colleagues and do something good and necessary for your local community – like building a common sauna, restoring the local lake beach or build a playground for the kids. We encourage people to have fun!
Who did you work with during the Cleanup that inspired you?
Eva Truuverk – our head of Let’s Do It! Foundation – she is amazing estonian woman who has contributed 10 years of her life into leading the Foundation and whole Estonian core team – she has been always there for us and keep going no matter what – through cry, disapointments laughter and joy.
Is it not more important than cleaning on certain dates, not polluting the rest of the year. How can we change the mindset of citizens in this direction?
It’s important to clean up anytime you see trash in the nature – but I see that when to do it together and feel the beauty of cooperation how it all will really comes out – is so inspiring and gives people hope to really tackle huge problems which don´t really have to be always related even to waste only. I think most important is really keep the spirits up and not loose the hope and not to take the problems with heavy heart and provide to people easy solutions that will keep them involved like mapping the trash. We may never know what kind of amazing people might come together and start to offer great solutions for their community. There does not exist one common solution for such a big issue like waste pollution is and everyone is welcome to think along. Mapping the waste and cleanups are only the first step to fight the trashblindess.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve found during a Cleanup?
Oh, there is a long list of weird items. Latest great „treasure“ was found during he mapping of waste in Hong Kong. They found the statue of Jambhala the Tibetan/Nepalese God of wealth has been estimated to be 800-1200 years old, surely a good sign of things to come.
Tell something to those who want to become volunteers in the upcoming World Cleanup Day.
Indeed, everybody is welcome to join and find their local organizers contacts from our homepages www.worldcleanupday.org and www.letsdoitworld.org and if there are no local organizers yet feel free to write to and offer yourself to be the country leader and if this feels to much download our World Cleanup App and map all the waste hotspots you can find in your surroundings so you could go out with your own team on the 15th of September 2018 and make sure the world would be cleaner place.