Edgar McGregor - Climate Activist
Backpacker|July - August 2021
Two years ago, Edgar McGregor, 20, decided he’d seen enough litter. The epiphany came as he hiked Eaton Canyon Trail in his favorite Los Angeles area park. As soon as he was out of the woods, he grabbed a 5-gallon bucket and started picking up trash. He’s now notched more than 650 near-consecutive days of service, picked up thousands of pounds of garbage, and earlier this year, finally declared Eaton clean (for the moment). His work garnered widespread praise, including a shout-out from youth climate activist Greta Thunberg. But McGregor is just getting started.

There’s nothing I can do to stop litterbugs. I can’t spend time worrying about it, getting angry at them or confused, or wondering why people are treating their parks poorly, so I just ignore them entirely. But I can grab a 5-gallon bucket and a pair of gloves and go out to my park and clean up trash.

I throw away the trash, but I keep all the recycling. Every few weeks, I’ll turn it in for money. I either donate it back to my park to help plant native trees, or to politicians who promise to act on the climate crisis if elected. I’ve donated to those in need of food in areas of the country where there’s been earthquakes, extreme wildfires, or a terrible drought.

I also donate it to organizations in places like Yemen, which is suffering from a horrible humanitarian crisis.

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