Welcome to the first edition of the Conspiracy Chronicles, the monthly newsletter from Ever Widening Circles celebrating the Conspiracy of Goodness happening around the world!

Once a month we’ll update you with a problem the world faces, introduce you to one of our favorite thought leaders tackling the problem, and leave you with a few ways you can add to the #ConspiracyofGoodness and support them!

This month we’re talking trash.

Image: a dumpster overflowing with litter with a beautiful field behind it

Source: Pixabay

The Problem

Take a walk down most streets or even a scenic hike and you’ll probably see litter around you. From bottles to cigarette butts, it’s hard to avoid the trash that has been left behind. Humans produce 3.5 million tons of plastic and other solid waste a day. (National Geographic). In a year, 8 million metric tons of plastic winds up in the oceans (National Geographic) and 18% of the litter on land finds its way into rivers, streams, and oceans.

Litter can seem like a minuscule problem. What harm can flicking a cigarette but out my window do? Well, those butts happen to be the most littered items across the world. It’s estimated that of the 2 billion pounds of cigarette butts tossed out each year, 65% of them are left somewhere other than the trash can. (Terramar project) These little bits of trash around the world add up.

Luckily, so do the pounds of litter we can do away with if we join forces.

Our Featured Thought Leader Tackling the Problem

Let us introduce you to this month’s #ConspiracyofGoodness thought leader, Litterati. Litterati’s founder, Jeff Kirschner, is a thought leader that we’ve been friends with for years. And we were lucky enough to meet him right as he launched their remarkable app.

Jeff’s concept was simple: create a litter-free world. But he ended up taking this idea a step further by asking, what if we could use the technology we always have on hand (the camera’s on our phones) to document the litter we picked up? Then, that information could be used to crowdsource the data needed to convince corporations and cities to change their practices.

He started the movement on Instagram but soon found that what he really needed was a place where people could join a community so that the ketchup packet they picked up could have an actual impact. And so, the app was born.

To date, Litterati community members have photographed and picked up 3,074,779 pieces of litter, helped to change laws, clean up the streets, and put pressure on major corporations to reduce their waste!

With users around the globe, Litterati is a great way to make your litter collecting matter on a global scale. It was even listed by the Jane Goodall Institute’s Good for All News as one of the ways they suggest people make a positive change to solve our world’s litter problem! (So you know, you are in great company!)

To learn more about Litterati, you can check out their website. Or jump over to Ever Widening Circles to read the article we wrote about them!

Simple Things You Can Do!

We want to make it easy for you to join this month’s #ConspiracyofGoodness movement. Our hope is to give you some ideas of how you can get started picking up and reducing litter, maybe even making it a habit!

So, here are some simple things you can do:

Download the Litterati app! As you see litter and pick it up, snap a picture and share it! You can download the app through the Apple Apps Store, or on Google Play!

Choose a corner to clean up. Maybe it’s your favorite walk or just your block, pick up what you find!

RECORD IT: A great way to know you’re having an impact is to record what you find! If you keep a bag with you to collect litter, weigh it and write it down. Knowing how many pounds of trash you collect over a month or even a year is a great way to keep you motivated and spread the word!

Prevent litter:
Dispose of things like cigarette butts, apple cores, and paper products appropriately.
Secure small bits of debris–the corner of a wrapper, the cap of a bottle–in a trash bag or bin
Secure the lid on your outdoor trash can or dumpster

Keep up with the community!

To keep us all motivated this month to pick up litter use the hashtag #ConspiracyofGoodness if you share your litter pick up on social media!

Follow Ever Widening Circles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where we’ll be posting about our litter cleanup and sharing inspiring stories and creative ways to tackle our planet’s litter problem!

And join the #CommunityofGoodness Facebook Group to see what other people are up to and share inspiration you come across.

Follow more from #ConspiracyofGoodness!

Every month we put out an edition of the Conspiracy Chronicles. It’s our newsletter that explores a major issue the world faces, and introduces you to one of the thought leaders tackling the problem! Along the way, we also share some great tips with you on how you can make a difference too!

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Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

CEO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Since 2015, Liesl has been a writer, editor, and is now the CEO at Ever Widening Circles. She is a life-long camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often root-tripping—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV