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The Pivot: As everyone scrambles for ways to celebrate Halloween amidst COVID-19, one young environmentalist is using that enthusiasm for dressing up and carrying around bags to create an environmental and community-building initiative. Meet Trick-or-Trash.
The Backstory: Aileen Duncan is youth ambassador with Ocean Wise, a Canadian charity that supports ocean health in a variety of ways (you might know them by their sustainable seafood logo). She has participated in shoreline clean-ups before, and says events like this are a uniquely enjoyable way to spend time in nature.
“I was shocked at how much pollution was there, and some of it was quite small,” Duncan said after participating in a shoreline cleanup in September. “It was a bit of a hunt to find it, I guess I’m a bit of a puzzle person; I like to find things and spend time in nature. It just struck me as a really positive way to spend time outdoors and make a impact.”
“Anyone can participate no matter where they are, as long as they’re in a place where there’s pollution – which is unfortunately a lot of our environments and communities,” says Duncan. “Halloween in general is a bit of a waste-driven holiday. You have a lot of these individually wrapped small candies, and it’s not the most sustainable way to enjoy these sweets.
“So I think this is a nice opportunity to dress up and enjoy some time outside, and also make a positive impact while partaking in this ritual of Halloween of dressing up that we often appreciate,”
Duncan will lead three community cleanups on Oct. 31: in Strathcona Park at 10:30 a.m., along the Ottawa River Pathway at 1 p.m., and at the Remic Rapids at 3 p.m. Visit the Trick-or-Trash Facebook page to find out how to be a part of the clean-ups led by Duncan, or start one of your own! #trickortrash