ALTADENA, Calif. — A 20-year-old climate activist spends at least 20 minutes of each day cleaning local parks and hiking trails as part of his mission to save the planet.
Edgar McGregor was on day 629, now on day 636, and counting. He hasn’t missed a day in over two years picking up trash near his home in Altadena.
“It’s usually Eaton Canyon, but because I have declared the place clean, it’s a lot more difficult to find trash. I have been going to other parks in my area,” said McGregor.
The college student declared it clean after 589 days of visiting the park. This brought him notoriety on social media and gained nearly 20,000 followers. He still visits Eaton Canyon to maintain it, but now he focuses on other areas like Cobb Estate, not afraid of getting into the weeds, literally.
McGregor said this is just one small way he can help save the environment. In 2017, he started doing research on the topic after noticing an abnormal heatwave in SoCal. Then in 2019, he began his journey cleaning Eaton Canyon, because he said there is a correlation between littering and the climate.
“Everything is about us overstepping into the environment and destroying it,” said McGregor.
He has become part of the new generation of activists who are no longer relying on adults or politicians to save the planet. McGregor is even friends with fellow “Gen Z-er” Greta Thunberg.
“Young people are done taking no for an answer. This is the future we are talking about. We will live long enough to see the catastrophic impacts of climate change,” said McGregor.
The 20-year-old said he didn’t become this big climate activist overnight. He suggests starting small too by cutting back on meat, picking up trash when you see it or by sharing your mission with others to hopefully do the same.
“You don’t have to become a tree hugger. You don’t need to go complete vegan. Just do your part and talk about it because we are running out of time,” said McGregor.
After over two years, I asked how it feels to see people continuing to trash our hiking trails. He said, “I cannot afford to get angry at litterbugs. It is not worth it. I want to be out here enjoying my time.”
As he leaves for the day, after only a short hour, he has two buckets full of recyclables and garbage saying, “I know that there is more trash out here.” So, he will be back tomorrow to continue his mission of saving the planet.