PRESS RELEASE: Bottom-up global movement uniting 96 countries and growing

World Cleanup 2012 action, organized by civic movement Let’s Do It!, connected the efforts of millions of volunteers from almost half of the world’s countries this year. A network of volunteer teams and NGOs organized 84 one-day cleanup actions in Asia, Africa, North America, South America and Europe. The most astonishing numbers of volunteers attended cleanups in Sweden (675000), Bulgaria (322000) and in Slovenia (265000).

“Something is shifting in the world, from the bottom up. People seem to be not satisfied with the way things are organized and are ready to take the active role to start the change,” told one of the movement initiators, Rainer Nõlvak.

The data received from the local organizers shows that the volunteers have gathered altogether more than 67 000 tons of waste during this year’s actions. Three cleanups are still on the way - in Benin, Senegal and Lagos, Nigeria.

Data gallery about the World Cleanup 2012 action results is available here:

Let’s Do It! movement is not just about dealing with the consequences of poor waste management and low awareness though. The organizers point out that in many places the cleanup is just a first step in the line of many to follow: “We are not a movement of cleaning up – we are a movement of people who want to create a lasting change. It’s great to see that in many countries the local teams are developing a further co-operation with authorities and enterprises to establish more effective models for waste management and collection,” says Nõlvak. In his words these developments occur especially in countries where the teams have been active for few years already. “For example - the importance of education is clear, so in Brazil, Slovenia and in many other places, the local teams have developed educational programs and workshops for young people and work with schools to integrate them into the education programme,” he adds.

To bring the teams and new activists together in order to share existing experience and to figure out the next possible steps locally, regionally and globally, the Let’s Do It! movement is organizing four regional gatherings this year – from 8th until 11th of November the gatherings are taking place in Nepal (for Asian countries) and in Russia (for European countries), from 15th until 18th of November in El Salvador (for North-, Central- and South-American countries) and from 19th to 21st of November in Benin (for African countries). All active people from surrounding countries will be welcome.

Let’s Do It! has been one of the fastest-growing civic movements in history. The effort begun just 5 years ago in the northern corner of Europe – Estonia, where a group of active people called together 50 000 volunteers to clean up the whole territory of Estonia. Uniting the force of more than 600 volunteer organizers, 500 partners and a custom-made software for mapping the waste and organizing the logistics of the volunteer teams all over the country. On the action day, on 3rd of May 2008, the 50 000 volunteers managed to gather 10 000 tons of illegal waste in just 5 hours. 5-minute video reflecting the effort started to spread in the internet and gather interest from new countries and civic activists who started to organize similar actions in their home country.

Have a look at the video here:

Now this network has grown into a movement connecting civic-groups and NGO-s from 96 different countries.

The Let’s Do It! movement has ambitious plans for next year – “It’s clear that we need to continue our global effort to engage more active people and gather initiators from all of those countries that are not involved yet,” said Nõlvak. “If by end of this year we work together with 96 different countries, then next year we hope to double our circle and build a strong network of active people across all countries to pull off a successful World Cleanup 2013 action together,” Nõlvak revealed. The global team is also organizing a world-wide conference and a Clean World Brainstorm at the beginning of 2013 to plan further steps and actions as a civic movement.

World Cleanup 2012 action has been supported by Skype, Outfit7, Estonian Air, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and Estonian Ministry of the Environment.

Let's Do It! and World Cleanup 2012 actions calendar:

More information about Let’s Do It! movement and World Cleanup 2012 global effort:

Tiina Urm, Head of communications of World Cleanup 2012 and Let’s Do It! movement
Phone: +372 53000515
E-mail: tiina [at] letsdoitworld [dot] org

Press release in other languages (.DOC)