#KindnessChallenge Day 8: Pick Up Litter

This is Day 8 of the 14-Day Kindness Challenge for Nov 2012 where hundreds of participants from around the world get together in spirit to do 14 acts of kindness over 14 days. The challenge is now over, but you can still do the tasks in your own time. Visit the overview page for all Kindness Challenge tasks and posts.

Join the Kindness Challenge!

Hello everyone! :D Welcome to Day 8 of the 14-Day Kindness Challenge! ;)

It’s Now Been a Week of Kindness!

Given that today is Day 8, it has now been a week of kindness! How do you guys feel after doing these seven acts of kindness, back to back? :) How do you feel after immersing yourself in kindness for seven days?

Many of you have been telling me (in the comments sections of the daily posts) that you are really feeling the *warmth* from spreading kindness to people around you. That you didn’t realize that tiny acts like this can be so transformational, both to the people you rendered the kind acts to and yourself.

For example, for yesterday’s donation task (Day 7), participant Dolly shared how she decided to give a cleaning lady some cash, who responded in great happiness. Participant ASLO donated a few clothing items to her house help, who responded to her act of kindness with looks of gratitude. Participant Ana-Maria donated $50 in her local currency to an old lady selling handkerchiefs, who was so happy that she filled her bag with packs of handkerchiefs.

All these are probably small acts to us. For the participants who rendered the acts, they were probably no more than passing actions, just like when we invited our friends to join us in the challenge (Day 0), reached out to others for a hug (Day 1), gave up our seat to others (Day 2), wrote thank-you notes to people we appreciate (Day 3), did volunteer work (Day 4), gave a genuine compliment to others (Day 5), and spoke to people whom we normally wouldn’t think of or want to speak to (Day 6).

But to the recipients, the acts meant the world to them. In their minds, they couldn’t fathom how other people would care to do those actions. They were touched beyond words. They were warmed by the small yet heartwarming actions.

Let us continue to spread kindness to people all around us. Let us embark on the second half of the #KindnessChallenge with the same, if not more, fervor as before.

Week 1 in Review: Our Kindness Tasks from Days 0–7!

Share your results in the daily threads if you haven’t! All comments sections are open and it’s not too late to share your results for the early tasks such as Days 0, 1, 2, or 3 even! Your comments will remain on PE forever and be read by people all around the world (in turn impacting them for the better).

My Day 7 Review: Donation

Day 7′s task was to Make a Donation.

I was out in the day to meet my good friend (Violet from Lunch Actually) for tea. As I was walking to the meeting destination, I came across a man playing the erhu (a Chinese string instrument). 

Donating to a Street Performer

Usually, I would walk by such street performers without donating. It’s not that I don’t appreciate their music; donating (to street performers) is just not something that I normally do.

So that was precisely what I did—I walked past without donating.

However, a few steps past the man, and I recalled that the task for the day was about donating. While I had already planned to donate to National Cancer Center Research Fund later at night, I thought that I shouldn’t limit donating to just a one-off act. I should donate at every opportunity I get; in fact, I should create opportunities to donate where I can.

Back view of the street performer

So despite having walked to the traffic light, and despite the light having turned green, I walked back to the street performer and made my donation. I think he was a little surprised that I came from behind to donate; I think several people at the bus stop nearby also noticed that I had backtracked just to donate and were staring at me. (I tend to have quite a strong room presence actually; I think it has to do with my height, dressing, natural aura, and I guess overall appearance.)

That might have gotten me a little uninvited attention for the day, but I didn’t mind as it felt good donating to the old man. I hope he felt rewarded and will put the money to good use. :)

Later when I returned home (at night), I then logged in to Run For Hope website to make a donation to cancer research. Run For Hope is an annual run in Singapore organized to raise funds for cancer research; I was contacted by the NCCS (National Cancer Center Singapore team) a few months back to do a coverage about their work, which I’ll be sharing in an upcoming article today. I didn’t want to take part in the run (have other commitments on my plate), but wanted to contribute to the cause. Run For Hope Donation section provides the option to donate solely without participating in the run.

Donating to NCC Research Fund via SG Gives

Donating to NCC (National Cancer Center) Research Fund via SG Gives portal.

Donation to NCC Research Fund

Completing the donation transaction via internet banking.

So there, my acts of kindness for Day 7 on donating. :) While I have made my donations and completed my task duly, I want to emphasize that donating isn’t limited to just yesterday (same for all the other acts of kindness and the respective days they have been assigned).

The act of donating is about being generous with our available resources (be it time, money, blood, or in-kind) and giving them to people who may need it more than us. Even if they don’t, we should still be generous and share what we have with others. What goes around comes around, and I want to stress that we do not live in a world of scarcity.

Meaning, it doesn’t mean that donating $10, $50, or $100 makes you $10, $50, or $100 poorer. It opens up opportunities for other things to enter your life, be it emotional rewards, monetary paybacks, or whatever. You never know. You just never know. More importantly, you have made someone’s life better with your donation. This should be the biggest reward of it all and your biggest motivation for donating to others.

With that said, let’s move to Day 8!

Day 8: Litter

Litter

Litter. You see litter every day in your daily life. Even for those who live in clean cities like Singapore (I do), there are times when you see the occasional litter scattered around. For those who live in less-than-clean cities like London, Paris, or New York, the litter-situation can be so bad that you see litter every one step you take. (At least that was what I observed when I was traveling in those cities during my seven-month world trip last year. The train stations at Paris had urine smells while that of New York would have the occasional rat running along the tracks.)

I think none of us wants to live in a trash-filled country or city, just like none of us want to live in a home that is dirty and has litter strewn all over the place. Given that we put great care to put away litter in our homes, shouldn’t we do the same when we see litter outside of our home? After all, isn’t the country / city that we live in our home as well? Shouldn’t the entire universe be regarded as our home?

Today, my challenge to you is to pick up litter that you see. Are you ready to take up this challenge?

Your Task: Pick Up Litter

Pick up litter that you see today! It can be litter you see in the trains (I recall the London Tube and New York subway would have tons of litter), on the pavement, at the food court, litter that missed the trash cans and are strewn around bins, or litter around the bus stop. As long as it’s trash that has been misplaced, pick it up and put it in its rightful place—the trash can.

If there are recycle bins in your country, all the better—discard them in the appropriate recycle bin.

Pick up as much litter as you can manage. (There’s no need to make it your day’s purpose to comb your entire neighborhood of litter—otherwise you might not have time to do other things in your life!) Do as much as you can, within the day, within your capacity.

The point of this task is to get all of us working in creating a cosy home for all of us in this world. After all, the world is our home. Trying to define home as only the space we live in every night only serves to segregate and not unite us. Recognize that our home extends beyond just those physical walls and every ground we walk on, every neighborhood we walk in, every district we step into, etc. should be considered our home, too.

Share Your Results!

What litter did you see today? How much litter did you pick up? How did you feel as you were clearing the litter?

Check out the responses of other participants in the comments section!

After you are done, proceed to Day 9: Write a Letter to Someone Who Has Made a Difference in Your Life!

While you’re at it, check out my article on How To Prevent Waste (here’s the manifesto version).

Image: MBK


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  • Celi

    I am a teacher by profession and constantly catching myself picking up litter. When I could not find a volunteer programme to assign to I was on the road and thought I could at lest volunteer to pick up the mess around a turn-off point. I felt good about it and did not know I actually pre-ceded the task for this challenge.

  • Celi

    I then sent to supper with my sister on day 8 and we came across a lot of litter as we walked back to our cars. I picked it up and felt good to contribute towards a cleaner city.

  • Elton

    Finally I am pick up rubbish once reach home, as there is quite number of litter, not including the ones in my car and my surrounding and have cleaner home area :) . I need to do more cleaning up as create cleaner environment , thought this is hard work on my end too.

  • Daria

    Well I usually see a lot of litter around my area… I would much rather see litters of kittens than of trash!

    The other day when I was out, I picked up almost of piece of litter I saw inside the college building, there were about 10 or so.

    I’m sure I do my share of polluting but sometimes it annoys me why people would pollute their environment in such a direct way as throwing trash on the floor . Anyway, it feels great to pick up litter, because that is just another way of making a positive effect on our surroundings.

  • May

    I usually pick up all the recyclable bottles I see lying around and put them in a bag. There are so many more trashes than you realize!

  • Bette

    There are always opportunities for helping out to pick up or dispose of litter!
    Too bad that statement is so true, but it is. :(

    I picked up a bunch of litter in a restroom, also by trashcans where people had missed getting their trash inside. I also picked up a lot of litter in the car where others just had let things go and many trash items were in between the seats, on the floor, in the back, etc. What is it with people who just do not seem to mind just leaving their garbage?! Do they think it will just magically disappear by itself? Do they not see the litter? :cry:

    Anyway, there is always litter to discard out there in the world, so this is a sure thing when it comes to being kind and disposing of others’ messy, “lazy” discards! :angry:

    Here’s hoping that the consciousness of everyone that litters or is unkind or thoughtless will be more careful and neat and considerate! :heart:

  • Hetal_S

    I picked up the litter from the staircase of my building.

    In the process, I was continuously thinking next time if I would see some one throwing litter other than the garbage bin I would tell them to give it to me and I would gladly throw litter in the bin for them :angry:

    • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

      Hey Hetal! Haha, you make a valid point. Actually it’s more sustainable to help people take ownership of environmental cleanliness and learn (plus WANT) to dispose of litter correctly, rather than pick up the litter after them. What we are doing is definitely still playing a part in keeping a clean society though. The next step perhaps is to teach people to see their environments as their own homes rather than segregating the area outside their home as “non-home”. This will make them more responsible and careful in how they dispose of their litter when outside.