Cleanup in Austria with yoga breaks

In Austria the cleanup on the 15th of September was done in two sessions, allowing people to rest and share experiences in between. To prevent volunteers’ backs from hurting the next day, the organisers had teamed up with a famous yoga teacher, Ms. Sarah Ticha, who taught yoga during the break. Several cleanup actions took place […]

In Austria the cleanup on the 15th of September was done in two sessions, allowing people to rest and share experiences in between. To prevent volunteers’ backs from hurting the next day, the organisers had teamed up with a famous yoga teacher, Ms. Sarah Ticha, who taught yoga during the break. Several cleanup actions took place all over the country.

Austria is one of the leading countries in recycling: 58 percent of waste is being recycled. The government has worked for years to reduce landfill and to promote the idea of generating value from waste. They are true pioneers in the global waste management industry and are now revolutionising the approach to the World Cleanup Day program.

So, Austrians had their World Cleanup Day in a bit unusual way. They cleaned in shifts and had yoga-breaks in between. For a start they cleaned the environment of garbage in Vienna, the capital city of Austria, afterwards had a yoga class.

Elizabeth G. Toth, the coordinator of World Cleanup Day in Austria, started to prepare one year ago. She had just arrived from the JCI Peace Summit where she first heard about World Cleanup Day, and put together her own team to organise the event. Together as Green Heroes they managed to bring World Cleanup Day to different cities in Austria. “Everything is possible as long as you have willpower,” says Elizabeth.

Doing countrywide cleanups for the first time, they targeted 11 different locations in Austria. One of the places was the Danube riverside, Europe’s second longest river, after the Volga. Every day between 25 and 145 kg waste lands in the Danube… Austrians also were successful to partner up with numerous relevant organisations, all working together for the same goal. The list of partners included Greenpeace, Sea Shepherds, Nature Awakes, Generation Earth, Exit Green, Global2000, boy scouts from Pfadfinder Salzburg 4 Mülln, Reinwerfen statt Wegwerfen and Plastic Planet. 

The environment issues matter for Elizabeth much. Three years ago she started to pick up the trash at the beach in L.A. while jogging. First, some people were either staring at her or making even fun of her. For today things have been changed a lot. She has talked about plogging, which is combination of jogging and picking up the trash, in one of the Austrian biggest women’s magazine. “There will always be people who won’t get you and will try to demotivate you. Don’t listen to them, follow your own path, become stronger and believe in yourself,” she ensures.

Isabel Kärtner
Esme Kassak