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.
Well done and congratulations!!
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) March 6, 2021
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.
Trash pickup day 1,026. This was a 60 minute pickup. #EarthCleanUp
Tell me why I went “uhh” about 25 times in today's video. My highschool speech and debate teacher would be dissapointed. Watched my most recent long video from 2 days ago and did the whole thing w/o any “uhh”s. pic.twitter.com/XU18y9eHQX
— Edgar McGregor (@edgarrmcgregor) May 17, 2022
He began in Pasadena's Eaton Canyon, which took him 589 days to fully clean.
I AM DONE!!! I DID IT!!!
After **589** days of picking up trash every single day, I can say with confidence that Eaton Canyon, one of Los Angeles's most popular hiking trail, is now free of municipal waste!
I'VE DONE IT!!! WOOOOOO!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/s4ouDM6Nga
— Edgar McGregor (@edgarrmcgregor) March 5, 2021
Now he's moved on to other local parks, which he documents in daily videos.
Trash pickup day 1,017. This was a 20 minute pickup. #EarthCleanUp
Spent 2 hours collecting sea glass.
Today I learned that Half Moon Bay is significantly closer in drive time to some of the other beaches I've been going to AND with much less mountain driving. Ideal. pic.twitter.com/A9JkEMll4k
— Edgar McGregor (@edgarrmcgregor) May 7, 2022
He cashes in all recyclables and donates the proceeds to charity.
As many of you know, I keep all the recycling I collect on my daily trash pickups.
I turn the recycling in for money which I then donate.
— Edgar McGregor (@edgarrmcgregor) February 20, 2021
Now others around the world, inspired by his example, are doing their own daily cleanups.
— Tanner Thompson 🚲🚶🚊 🚫🚗 (@awholelottanner) April 29, 2021
#Earthcleanup #Litterpicking streak day 64. Disturbing amount of #plasticpollution in a small area at Stevenson creek #Clearwater
80 minute #litterpick resulted in 4 bags of #litter🚮 collected(115 total streak bags🌎)
Just scratching the surface here(and my head lol🤕🙃) pic.twitter.com/7eGaiDzdMg
— TommyPicsUpTrash (@TJRPitt) May 15, 2022
— David Boudinot (he/him) (@librarialstudy) May 14, 2022
Thank you to my wonderful colleague @BuschHenner for bringing along a trash bag and gloves to make the beach more beautiful for everyone. Great habit to get into, I'll try to pick up some litter this weekend. @edgarrmcgregor your #EarthCleanup inspiration has reached Sweden! 🇸🇪 https://t.co/W3ofJMEz8a
— Prof. Kimberly Nicholas (@KA_Nicholas) June 11, 2021
Today, I want to say with full confidence that this Park in Delhi is now 100% single use plastics garbage free park after cleaning daily alone for the last 7 days at 38°C.❤️
Thanks @edgarrmcgregor for inspiring me!
— Licypriya Kangujam (@LicypriyaK) April 6, 2021