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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Recap of meeting: Mon 8 May, 2006

An ironic sign at the garbage-ridden site of the mangrove clean-up project

Dear Greenlights,

Yesterday’s meeting was held successfully at our headquarters, 21 Lyndon Street, Curepe, from 6 – 8 p.m. There was a good turnout.

After preliminary discussions about the first stage of the R.E.B.I.R.T.H. project (Sat 6th May 2006), we viewed the video footage from the day and came up with ideas for a series of 30 sec – 1 minute awareness videos. Some of the footage sent simple but powerful messages:


- a large crab in the water trying its best to eat a heavy piece of plastic (“I live on a diet of plastic because that’s all there is to eat in the swamp now.”)
- a dead cayman floating belly up in the water with a massive fly playing on its belly, surrounded by floating waste (leaves, plastic and other objects), whilst some men peacefully fish with their net cast in the floating debris

The edited pieces will be unleashed on the public in a variety of ways, alerting regular citizens and corporate bodies to the harsh realities of their casual tossing of rubbish and bottles in drains, etc. Blue Waters and Coca-Cola were starring.

We closed the meeting by discussing ways in which we can improve our R.E.B.I.R.T.H. operations and came up with the following:
1. Start earlier (when its cooler): 6 – 9 a.m.
2. Bring a cooler with chilled bottles of (sponsored) water for the crew
3. Have a bucket for unscrewed bottle caps, one person with the task of unscrewing the caps and emptying the bucket into the bags afterwards (this will speed things up)
4. Request a police officer
5. Ask each person to invite at least one friend to accompany them, have small teams of people and offer a prize for the team that collects the most bags of plastic bottles
6. Print t-shirts with our logo and tagline (healing our inner and outer environments), as well as our website address. These t-shirts will be worn at Greenlight activities such as the R.E.B.I.R.T.H. mangrove project
7. Have a small fee of only $5 to be paid by members attending meetings – to cover new gloves, which are just under $5 a pair. If members want to give more at a meeting, that’s up to them. All money collected will go towards Greenlight projects.
8. Later down the line we will erect signs in the mangrove. One member suggested CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS (seeing that it is a cremation site and a place where Hindus worship and place their offerings … in the midst of rubbish. This should not be so). Another suggestion was LEAVE ON A CLEAN NOTE (referring to people who have been liming there, as well as those who are cremated there). We will also arrange later down the line for the Council to provide garbage bag disposal units (for people who lime there) and a large dumpster for them to place their garbage in (to be cleared on a regular basis by the Council). When the place is looking clean and ‘rebirthed’, people should be less likely to see it as a garbage dump. (We are not being naïve – just thinking positively).
9. Go to companies in person (requests for funding) rather than merely sending in letters
10. The next clean up will take place this coming Saturday: 13th May, 2006. Those interested in attending are asked to let Glen know (645-0157) and to meet at his house on the day at 6:00 a.m. (time of departure) to head down to the site in convoy. The clean up will finish at 9:00 a.m.

Those of you who were there on Saturday must be wondering if we will be cleaning up the entire mangrove. This is physically impossible for us to do, given the vast amount of garbage dumped there. We ultimately hope to increase the size of our crew, have a clean up about 2 Saturday’s a month (understanding that not everyone can make it every time), focus on picking up the plastics (for recycling) and organize for the Chaguanas Council or some other authority to handle the cleaning up of other types of waste: the styrotex, old fridges, tyres, paper/cardboard, dead animals, etc.

How long this will take is anyone’s guess, but by the end of it, it should be looking like the sacred space it is supposed to be. If you know of people who want to assist, please let them know and get in touch.

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