“Why don’t people recycle in Memphis?” is a question commonly asked by citizens and students of Memphis alike. Clean Memphis, a nonprofit whose mission is to engage Memphians in making the city cleaner and greener, has been working hard to change this. While the organization organizes hundreds of cleanup efforts throughout Memphis annually, more “upstream” efforts to reduce litter are ideal for long term change.
“Changing the mindset of the people in the city is the best way to best way to start them to practicing better habits,” says Clean Memphis Executive Director, Janet Boscarino. This is why ,in addition to regular litter sweeps and community projects, Clean Memphis puts an emphasis on environmental education.
As a part of the educational platform, Clean Memphis has an Educational Staff whose sole mission is to regularly visit schools and offer environmental education. This includes engaging lessons where students see a landfill model, a watershed model, perform water testing, mark storm drains, and participate in a cleanup of their school grounds. Additionally, the Educational Staff at Clean Memphis works with schools to promote sustainability efforts such as recycling, energy audits, and water conservation.
Clean Memphis has been working with Whitney Elementary, a part of the Achievement School District in Memphis, to provide students with a foundation to implement more sustainable habits both in school and at home. As a result of this success, Clean Memphis is looking to enhance this partnership and create a comprehensive platform for “green schools” in Memphis with Whitney Elementary as the “pilot school.”
With this project, a primary aim is to integrate environmental education with existing curriculum standards. The project will also consist of the establishment of “green teams” to carry out school-wide recycling, energy audits, and the coordination of community-wide cleanups. Teachers and staff at Whitney would love to to put such a project in place, but are in need of an experienced partner and the manpower to help carry it out. All that is lacking are the resources. Which is where you come in! We need your help.
Clean Memphis has laid out a detailed plan along with a budget of what we plan to do with help from our friends at ioby.org. “Ioby” is an acronym that means “in your own backyard.” Clean Memphis believes that this project will be a success and can be the start of lasting positive change right here in Memphis.