Pick Up America is doing something extremely simple, yet incredibly powerful. They are the nation’s first coast-to-coast roadside litter pickup, and their mission is simple: “…to pick up trash across the country, educate, and encourage a transition toward zero waste.” This group of “Pick Up Artists” have taken a fundamental notion—leave the place a little better than you found it—and hauled it across America on their shoulders. The whole point is to “…encourage alternatives to our nation’s throwaway mentality.” The journey began at Assateague Island, MD, in March 2010, and will wrap up in San Francisco Bay in November (2012).
Along the way, they’ve amassed a stunning stat line—As of today: 136,322 pounds of trash picked up, 1,419 miles walked, and 240 days on the road. The crew consists of six professional volunteers who make their way across the country in a modified school bus that runs on both diesel and waste vegetable oil, aptly named “Due West.” As they travel, they accumulate additional volunteers/friends, create events, listen to locals, play music, make art, and most importantly, spread the word.
According to their (outstanding) website, their route is decided by three factors:
- We want a route that’s as straight as possible from Maryland to San Francisco.
- We want to work with as many schools, organizations, and municipalities as possible.
- We want to finish the route in three seasons.
Their story is remarkable. Their cause is truly inspiring. The message is clear.
Do yourself a favor and visit pickupamerica.org. While you’re at it, do us all a favor, and make a donation from the site—it’s as easy as clicking on the green gift box. It’s efforts like these that should be headline news around the country, every day. The least we can do is help them on their journey—if for no other reason, than what it stands for.