Man Spends Over 1,000 Days Straight Cleaning Up Trash in His Local Parks

Edgar McGregor Earth CleanUp

Photo: Twitter

Twenty-one-year-old climate activist Edgar McGregor has become a shining example of how one person can make a big impact. Since 2019, he has been conducting daily cleanups in an effort to make his local park spotless. He began documenting his trash collection efforts with short videos posted to Twitter, which have gone viral and even caught the attention of another youth climate activist—Greta Thunberg. And even though McGregor finished cleaning his local park—Eaton Canyon—after two years of daily walks, he's still at it.

Currently, he's on day 1,026 of what he's dubbed as #EarthCleanUp. McGregor continues to return to Eaton Canyon in his hometown of Pasadena for maintenance but has branched out to other parks as he studies meteorology at San Jose State University. His charming daily videos show the passion he has for getting out in nature and for ensuring these parks stay sparkling clean. Along the way, he shares some of his interesting finds, from plastic bottles to iPhones to beer cans from the 1970s.

He recently told a local television station that he estimates that he's collected over 15,000 pounds of trash. What he does with that trash after it's been collected is equally impressive. He cashes in all recyclables and donates the money to different environmental charities. Some of the money has even been put toward planting new saplings in his local park.

While the trash pickup is certainly important, McGregor says that he also looks forward to his daily walks because they allow him to spend more time in his local parks. “Sometimes I go out for two hours, sometimes I only have 10 minutes, but I just really love being out there,” he shared. “The park changes a ton all the time, and you can see it when you’re there.”

McGregor initially started cleaning Eaton Canyon when it was announced that the 2028 Olympics would take place in Los Angeles. He was concerned that the dirty parks would be a global embarrassment and made the decision to do something about it. But now, his actions have sparked others to make their own daily trash cleanups. The hashtag #EarthCleanUp is filled with others taking his example and making it their own.

“The hardest part about becoming a climate activist is taking the first step,” he shares. “I don’t care if you want to take shorter showers, if you want to not drive a car, if you want to eat less beef, if you want to do all those things. Just pick something and be vocal about it. Tell your friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and from there the rest is history. It doesn’t matter how little you are involved, just do something.”

21-year-old climate activist Edgar McGregor has been going on daily cleanups in his local parks since 2019.

He began in Pasadena's Eaton Canyon, which took him 589 days to fully clean.

Now he's moved on to other local parks, which he documents in daily videos.

He cashes in all recyclables and donates the proceeds to charity.

Now others around the world, inspired by his example, are doing their own daily cleanups.

Related Articles:

Volunteers Collect 12,000 Tons of Plastic Trash on a Beach in Mumbai

Bullied 13-Year-Old Called “Trash Girl” Receives Inspiring Award from UK Prime Minister

People Are Picking Up Trash and Sharing Before-and-After Photos for the “Trashtag Challenge”

Ukrainian Refugees Are Thanking Countries for Their Warm Welcomes by Helping Clean Public Spaces

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content