Clean Up America: A Huge Success

On October 20, 2018 in states all across the country from coast to coast, members and supporters of the American Conservation Coalition participated in the Clean Up America initiative. The project, launched by ACC Social Media Manager Caleb Tolin, set out with goals to collect as much trash as possible in natural areas all across the nation. Participants collected items ranging from tires to decades-old beer bottles and helped to restore the natural beauty of countless parks and open spaces. All in all, Clean Up America amassed 63 volunteers and collected an unbelievable 595 pounds of waste in just one day. This project proves once again that individuals and a bottom-up approach can successfully tackle many of the environmental problems of our times.

“Planning Clean Up America was a very quick process. We had limited hours to work on the project each day and only about a month to do most of the organizing. With such a small time frame, our primary goals were to organize an effective cleanup project and to produce results,” said ACC’s Caleb Tolin, a key organizer of Clean Up America. “We exceeded expectations on the latter goal and couldn’t be more proud of the outcome. Collecting approximately 600 pounds of litter improved so many communities and ecosystems all while learning a lot along the way.”

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Although the American Conservation Coalition seeks to advance conservative environmental policy, its goals extend far beyond that. Our organization seeks to promote a healthy environment for future generations, whether that is accomplished by pushing for free market reforms or by launching grassroots operations like Clean Up America.

“Events like Clean Up America are especially salient to furthering ACC’s mission, because they not only showcase the commitment our generation has to preserving our country’s natural spaces, but also illustrate the reach of support that spans our entire nation,” said ACC’s Deputy Editor, Katie Hogge, who attended the Washington, D.C. cleanup. “From Washington to Florida, we had young adults getting up early on a Saturday morning to demonstrate both a desire for change and a willingness to take actionable steps toward that change—and that’s big.”

Individual responsibility is a core tenet of conservatism, and ACC seeks to advance the idea that we all, regardless of ideology, have a duty to protect and promote environmental quality for future generations. We all must recognize that generating 254 million tons of trash per day is a problem, and reducing this figure can be accomplished by holding ourselves and our peers accountable. Emphasizing individual responsibility and a bottom-up approach provides a perfect avenue to enact change, whether it involves recycling the Coke can you finish drinking or encouraging a friend to drink from a reusable water bottle. Although these actions seem largely ineffectual at first, they can—in the aggregate—put a serious dent in overall waste generation and make the world a better place.

In just over one year of existence, the American Conservation Coalition has made tremendous progress in advocating for conservative environmental policy and promoting stewardship of our planet. ACC recognizes that conservation is inherently conservative, and that individuals can often help the environment without excessive government involvement. Clean Up America proved remarkably successful in advancing these ideals by collecting a large amount of trash and by showcasing the power of individual environmental action, and ACC looks forward enthusiastically to holding more events like it in the future.

Ronnie ThompsonComment