One-woman drive to clean up island is an internet hit
A woman’s campaign against litter on the island has gone viral after she posted her trash pickups on social media.
Stephanie Brown said that she had carried out litter collections and posted them on social media to motivate others people to do the same.
Ms Brown added that she was already on day 63 of her campaign – and did not plan to stop.
She said: “The trash collection makes me want to go out for runs and walks and with all the natural beauty I’ve seen it just feels like a win/win.
“There’s absolutely no way I would stop now.”
Ms Brown, 41, from Sandys, added: "I post my progress on LinkedIn, which is a global platform, and people all over the world have reached out to me.
“There was a lady in Germany who reached out to me who enjoyed my work and I’ve spoken to people in the US, Australia and Asia.”
Ms Brown, a freelance recruitment specialist, said she started her campaign after she watched the documentary David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet on Netflix.
The documentary looked at humanity’s impact on the environment and the grim possibility of a mass extinction if action was not taken.
Ms Brown said that the documentary “completely shocked” her and inspired her to do her part to protect the environment.
She added: “I had to think ‘well, what can I do on my end? What changes can I make in my life to help?’
“I thought ‘well, every time I go for a walk or go to the beach or go for a run I’m going to take a bag with me and then on my way home I’m going to pick up some trash.’
“That way I was doing something and I felt like I was helping.”
Ms Brown started her campaign last December and collected trash at least once a week.
She said that most of her work was around Ely’s Harbour in Sandys, but that her one-woman mission had taken her across the island and even overseas.
Ms Brown explained: “I went to New Orleans over the summer with my family and I saw all this trash while I was waiting for a tram, so I just picked up some trash and I posted it online from New Orleans.”
She added: “I’ve just met so many amazing people through it.
“Katie Berry from Keep Bermuda Beautiful got in touch at some point and I’m close friend with Eugene Dean from Greenrock, so we all ended up organising beach clean-ups and stuff.
“Sometimes some friends will even come over and tell me ‘let’s go for a run so we can pick up trash together’.”
Ms Brown said she had found all sorts of items on her walks, including cash, vintage cutlery and old ceramics.
She added that she had also received support from passers-by and people who had followed her work on social media.
Ms Brown said: “Sometimes people in cars will beep or shout out and say ‘thank you’.
“Other people stop and talk and I’ve wound up meeting neighbours through it.”
She added: “I think if 20 people see me and think ‘hang on, she’s picking up trash’, they could say to themselves ‘I better pick up trash too’.”
Ms Brown highlighted that everyone had to play their part to safeguard the environment.
She said: “Sometimes it’s a simple as thinking twice about whether or not you really need to grab a plastic fork and knife or trashing pieces of plastic after one use.
“The more we starting thinking about where all of our trash goes the more changes we’ll make.”