Inspirational instigators

To celebrate 10 years since the birth of the movement, and Estonia’s centenary gift to the world, we’re featuring interviews with two of the orginal instigators of the Let’s Do It movement – Estonian entrepreneur Rainer Nõlvak, and Estonian businesswoman Eva Truuverk, who share their wisdom and inspirational words about this flourishing movement.      Rainer Nõlvak Head of Supervisory […]

To celebrate 10 years since the birth of the movement, and Estonia’s centenary gift to the world, we’re featuring interviews with two of the orginal instigators of the Let’s Do It movement – Estonian entrepreneur Rainer Nõlvak, and Estonian businesswoman Eva Truuverk, who share their wisdom and inspirational words about this flourishing movement. 

 

 

Rainer Nõlvak

Head of Supervisory Board, and Chief Motivator

 

Tell us how you founded Let’s Do It, and why?

It came about simply because I just hated waste. I couldn’t stand seeing it in my forest. I’m a loner kind of guy –  I’m mostly in the forest; I’m mostly alone. And once I started seeing waste there more and more often, I felt i just had to do something about it. So, in a first desperate attempt, I tried to organise a cleanup. I failed. I tried another one. And I also failed. And then it struck me that if we managed to get the entire country together, and really push it – to make sure everybody understands why this is so important, maybe we’ll succeed. And thanks to the fantastic team we had, and of all the luck we had at the time, we just succeeded. That was the beginning of the movement.

And why is this so important? Why pick up litter?

Well, there’s two things. Firstly, you’re going to feel better, if you do it; it’s going to look nicer. Plus, we might save the environment with this. Because what happens with litter is that eventually, it trickles down through natural processes and we eat it – through the animals and other things. Plus, it also brings disease. There are a few other arguments as to why, but – it’s personal. What we’ve seen over the years is that really, at a cleanup event, everybody is picking the litter for their own personal reasons. Your reasons are inside of you, and you’re cleaning your own world. And this is what it’s all about.

Tell us more about the movement and the people within it?

In 2008 we thought we were done with it. We were tired, we thought we were never going to touch trash again.  And yet, this human resilience and craving for cleanliness just kept coming back. And when I’m looking at all the people in the movement now, the one thing in common is this unbelievable desire to really create change. I don’t know where it comes from, and how we possibly could have found these people, but it seems completely at home with them. I am constantly amazed by how this movement develops. It’s like re-creating a family in a way – you have your clashes, and you have your problems, but we’re all getting together. And we see so many similarities between us – all it takes is a common goal. We’re pulling this together, and I think it’s gunna be a hell of a party.

What will you be doing on World Cleanup Day, yourself?

Again, it’s very personal for everyone. But for me, I’m going to be back in my small island. I’ll get a few friends together. We’re still finding trash arriving on the shores from other countries – and so we’ll clean it, and we’ll celebrate. That’s what I’ll be doing on the day.

What do you think is the next for the movement?

What’s happenning is that we’re getting more and more powerful ideas flowing around. This is what I can feel. It’s not just about how to get things done, though of course this is also important, but what is especially important is that people start to feel that by helping each other out, across all the different countries, we can actually pull it off. And they’re already starting to consider what is the next step after World Cleanup Day – how we’ll keep it sustained. I see that there’s been a shift towards being more professional. We used to be like a gang of guys and girls who had a lot of fun, but just cleaned without any further thinking. And now we’re becoming a structured force in the world, to make things right.

 

Eva Truuverk

Co-leader, and Member of the Board

 

Looking back to the first ever Estonian national cleanup – how did it feel to be part of it such a successful event?

I was involved in the preparations for about four 4 months. My emotions and feelings went through a rollercoaster on a daily basis! It was definitely an experience for life.

What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome, to make it a success?

Nobody believed that it would be a succees – on all levels, from the government to the local councils. The team, on the other hand, was very confident. The hardest part was logistics – we realised in March that we would have to organise waste management across the entire country ourselves. And the cleanup was on the 3rd of May! So, it was a combination of a lot of good luck, and working hard to make agreements with sponsors, which helped us do this. We started our advertising campaign in mid March, so that helped us approach companies as some of them already understood what we were trying to do.

How did you manage to inspire so many people to come out and take part?

It was the team’s great belief that the whole country cleanup was doable. Within the team there was a real ’let’s do it’ attitude. The energy in the team was amazing, and completely right for this kind of event. I still believe it’s important to find the right people to support you – it really cannot be a solo project.

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned about organising such large scale cleanups, over the years?

Everything is possible – that’s the first lesson. There is nothing that’s impossible if you have a great enough will to do something. Also cooperation, and the realisation that every individual contributes. These may seem contradictory things, but overall if everyone plays their own part then the cooperation will follow naturally. We also believe in not discriminating against anyone who wants to take part, from partners to individuals.

What do you think are the most logical next steps for the Let’s Do It movement?

The next important steps be determined by what actually happens on the 15th of September. This will be such a significant day in the life of the movement – a lot of the future of the movement depends on how this day goes. We will also continue with realising the ’Keep It Clean Plan’ in all countries. The Clean World Conference will take place in Tallinn 24 to 27 January 2019, and if the will of the network is strong enough, then Let’s Do It! will be formed into an organisation, rather than just being a civic movement.

Do you have any final words to add, about the movement or World Cleanup Day?

Altogether we have grown the network of positivity across the world. Now is the real time to show what we have achieved. Let’s do it!