I enjoy running. I often run around cities and on less traveled paths, but what I enjoy the most is the opportunity to observe the natural and built environment around me, at a faster pace than walking. When running in urban environments, I tend to make mental notes of the shops, restaurants and people, but running on trails is completely different. I take in the sounds of birds, fresh air and observe the beauty of the natural(ized) vegetation. I get very disappointed when I see garbage strewn all over the trails. I find trash and litter quite often in the spring, after all the snow has melted and reveals the mess that had been hiding underneath. Hopefully, garbage sightings will be less frequent with plogging.
If you haven’t heard of plogging, you will be seeing it soon at a park near you. What exactly is plogging? Originating in Sweden, it is an exercise trend that has become quite popular. Plogging is a portmanteau of two words: “plocka upp (a Swedish phrase that means “pick up”), and jogging. In its simplest form, a running group organizes a group jog, and gather litter/trash that they encounter along the way. As an individual, plogging may look silly, but as a group, it can clean up kilometers of trail in one day. There has even been a Toronto Plogging MeetUp group that started up recently.
As a runner and a nature-lover, I am excited about this trend. I am excited because there is the potential for plogging becoming so popular that it bolsters more people to care about their neighbourhood streets, ravines and trails. It is making a difference in the environment at a micro scale. It is also a tool for community building, giving back to the community, and promoting a sense of ownership and pride.
To all my fellow runners out there, on your next run let’s celebrate spring, World Landscape Architecture Month, and Earth Month with plogging! Plog on!