Monday, September 28, 2015

Gems of Opportunity: Civic Environmentalist Concept: "The Walking Green Recycler Program"

Hello All,

The above video is about 2 minutes in length posted in April of this year in my local Florida county of Sarasota. Depicting the classical civic pride of active and concerned citizens for the well being of our great Florida communities.

Today's Gems of Opportunity conceptual design isn't so much unique as it is an evolutionary idea. The numerous non-profits in municipalities across America well into Internationally that have clean-up groups. Be they along: coastal areas, rivers, parks, beaches, roadways, and so forth... All with the aim to beautify the natural and man made environments in terms of public health well into optimal health of the land and waterways.

My concept for today which I'll call as "The Walking Green Recycler Program". Combines two activities into one and supports it with the aid of technology. The first is obesity reduction by the act of exercising as individuals or in a group. As a walker although technically it can be accomplished by a jogger as well in principle. The second activity is that of collecting trash and recyclable material discarded in urban, suburban, and other scenic locales.

This notion dawned on me while I was walking in my suburban neighborhood for exercise one day. What if a non-profit community outreach group of adults and perhaps minors got together. To perform the two aforementioned activities of weight loss ala obesity reduction tracked via "Fit Bit" watch or some other smart phone app. Including whilst exercising wearing a basic clean-up kit to collect discarded trash along one's route. With any whole pieces of trash or nearly whole to use a smart phone app (software application) to snap a photograph linked to a GPS (Global Positioning System) Coordinate. Now you ask why take a snap shot of trash on the ground to be linked to a GPS coordinate marker?

Well at the end of such a volunteer participant routine of exercising and collecting discarded trash and recyclables. All pertinent data captured by a specialized app program can be uploaded to a website of the group. That another volunteer will maintain a publicly available database to track trash dispersal patterns. With the amount and certain types of trash typically found in those locales. To the regular person this data will be boring, but to local city or county planners and those who work for the county trash collection department it'll be a Goldmine of Data Points. To be utilized by governmental urban planners, researchers, and analysts alike depending on the areas such a non-profit group canvases in collecting trash and recyclables.

Such an activity of obesity reduction especially amongst minors and the trash disposal followed by recyclable material kept off the streets. With the tertiary regularly updated trash dispersal database for a municipality. Would permit such a non-profit community group to locate funding grants from three sources in theory. In the sectors of public health, environmental sustainability, and research grants would become applicable with such an initiative. Of course private donors and fund raising would be part and parcel as additional revenue generation outlets.

Such a "Walking Green Recycler Program" would have an online website component for members. Perhaps styled in a social media community web design with the necessary bells and whistles. That every member will have a personal profile where their uploaded exercise and collected trash / recyclables data points is tracked. Member activity through weight loss and green clean-up of one's local neighborhood or place of exercise is encouraged. Every new member gets a basic clean-up kit consisting of a: neon traffic safety vest, garden landscaping gloves, a utility belt, a belt attachment hoops for one black garbage bag and one white garbage bag, and a program T-Shirt. The black garbage bags are for regular trash and the white one is for recyclable content. New members can be given a crash course of traffic safety and the basics of trash pick-up at a local monthly meet-up in person. Where using their smart phones and the much needed installed program app. How to navigate the app and what types of trash to categorize and snap its picture along their route. Ignoring fragments of trash too minuscule to record with a picture and possibly even to be bothered to collect at all.

Members with tenure or seniority in the group from dedicated participation can go up the ladder of collected incentives. By incentives I mean better gear equipment and accessories upgrades. For instance: more elaborate program T-Shirts, embroidered program Polo shirts, program Caps / Hats, leather work gloves, steel water bottles, LED blinkers for a neon safety vest, key chain with an alert whistle, foldable dustpan, complimentary garbage bags with imprinted program logo, hand brush for trash pick up, utility belt attachments, suntan lotion, hand sanitizer, larger size recycle bins, an extra set of covered garbage cans on roller wheels, etc...

All members receive a member photo ID card to carry as required. Especially if collecting trash out in public seems suspicious to locals. The member ID card has a website and email address if they want to learn more when its presented to a stranger.

Once a month the local chapter of such a group can have a meet-up in person indoors or at an outdoor location. Where after the organizational activities are accomplished the group can go on an outing field trip to a designated clean-up zone. Something perhaps outside their normal vicinity in order to expand the database if a request was put in from the local city or county officials in particular. Afterwards the remaining group can rest up with a meal either out of pocket or out of the budget of the treasury if funds are permitting.

In order to keep the group interesting this is where I borrow an idea from the National Scouts organization. All members can earn merit badges either for individual or group outing performed functions together. The merit badges can be worn on a cloth sash if used for formal meetings or informally if velcroed into place onto ones neon green traffic safety vest. An array of merit badges can be earned as a sign of member achievement and dedication to the group itself.

This program is meant to foster local community pride in sanitary public spaces. Including to promote equally physical and emotional wellness in maintaining good overall health. By producing an actionable database of trash dispersal for one or more county municipalities to be utilized by government and higher institutions of education. Besides providing better equipment and accessories as incentives for continued program participation. And, merit awards to distinguish the dedicated members as individuals and as a group function contribution in recognition. To being an overall asset to any local community where they can augment existing similar clean up and exercise groups where they happen to reside together. 

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