I'm living in Kusatsu-shi, Shiga-ken for an undetermined amount of time and teaching English as a second language at a local high school. This journal is to document my experiences, thoughts, and to stay connected with others at home and abroad.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The 60-Minute Team

The 60-Minute Team
60 minutes a week:
Be happy, stay healthy, and keep your neighborhood clean!

The concept is simple enough: combining exercise with community enjoyment mixed with maintenance. I have been organizing and participating in a number of big clean-ups here in Shiga (Japan) over the past year or so. But the trash keeps coming back! Where does it coming from? Are the deer and tanuki playing a nasty trick on us? No, it’s people, us, and it’s our responsibility to keep our home clean.

There are two ends we can meet with this new quasi eco-sport:
1) Exercise! Why spend your hours exercising in a gym, separated from your environment, with an iPod blocking out the world? Thanks to truly marveling technology advancements, we spend less time in our own backyards than ever before. But there’s a stunning world of rice fields and hills, and rivers (concrete bedded perhaps), and edible wildflowers, and so much more than we never see. I’ll bet we can name all of the 7 Dwarves but we couldn’t think of 7 plant varieties that grow just beyond our walls. Please take a walk, a run, a bike-ride at dusk and revel in it. If you want more than just that, work your muscles by curling whatever trash you find along the way, do sit-ups, push-ups, chin-ups on a tree lunges, calisthenics¬¬––the possibilities are endless! In the process of enjoying your neighborhood, you’ll probably realize there’s an obscene amount of garbage floating around…that brings us to point number
2) Take care of your home! Set an example for others to follow or get your neighbors to join you for an evening stroll and bring a couple of plastic bags to pick up whatever junk you see in the process. If you are currently avoiding visiting that park around the corner because of trash problems, this will help create the opportunity to enjoy your home. The trouble is that a polluted sidewalk invites more trash, because no one appears to mind anyway; but a spotless roadside encourages others to keep it unblemished! Best of all, the more people in a community that start working together to protect their shared land, the more effective and beautiful things will be coming. In less than a month there’ll be less garbage to collect, because a more responsible community will trash the place less.

On the surface, the goal for the 60-Minute Team is to get everyone in the world working to take better care of the home on Earth that we all share.

Every person: 60 minutes/week
You can do it at your own pace, whenever you have an hour to spare. Getting a big group together takes a lot of time and energy we could spend better just by getting to work. One day after work, Satruday or Sunday mornings¬¬—best part of joining the 60-Minute Team is that when you participate is completely up to you!

I don’t believe it’s so difficult, and once the ball is rolling will be a force of inertia that drives us to keep things clean for all time. If we get to the point where there’s no trash, we can still benefit from getting outside one hour a week. Doing so will hopefully also spark new ideas of health and community maintenance above and beyond simple exercise and trash collecting. If we want to pass on there beautiful world around us to our children, we can take additional steps: reducing energy & CO2 used by our daily appliances, composting, cutting back on products with packaging or waribashi, switching to organic foods to keep our soil and bodies, engaging more with family, friends, and neighbors¬¬––we can always accomplish more collectively than if we stay looked indoors alone.

Please leave us a comment here and let us know how you’re 60-Minute contributions are going! Let other people know and help them on board too!

You can also join our facebook group for The 60-Minute Team


Blogger roadkills-r-us said...

Excellent idea. I've thought many times on walks through the neighborhood that I should take a bag with me to pick up trash, but I always forget. I'll make sure I start doing it now.

3:06 AM


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