Green.Org sits down with Terrill Haigler, who transitioned into being a full time community organizer and activist and how we can be conscious of our environmental footprint.
Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I’m a former sanitation worker turn community organizer in activist. At the height of the pandemic I created an Instagram @_yafavtrashman to raise awareness and highlight the importance of sanitation workers in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, also to raise money for PPE and cleaning supplies. I ended up raising $40,000 in four weeks. I eventually realized that one of the main issues was litter and illegal dumping so I started organizing community cleanup‘s. I have since resigned as a sanitation worker and run my nonprofit Trash 2 Treasure Inc. full time cleaning up Philadelphia. While also offering resources to the community. Food drives, expungement clinics, financial literacy workshops and connecting them to elected officials . In 2021 I organize 43 community cleanup‘s and picked up 150 tons of trash off the ground in Philadelphia. My goal is to get to zero litter by the year 2025. There is a huge inequality with cleanliness in the neighborhoods in Philadelphia. No matter your ZIP Code you deserve to live on a clean street. Having over 30K followers now I use my platform to educate the public on environmental issues and advocate for a greener city.
What is a fun fact about you?
A fun fact about me is that my first professional was theater and I was a professional dancer for 7 years. I’m classically trained in ballet, jazz, hip-hop and west African dance.
Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?
I believe it’s so important today because we are witnessing the effects in real time. We’re having 80° days in the winter, follow by it’s snowing on a Monday and being 75 Degrees on a Tuesday. We have to ensure that we leave the planet in good shape for the generations to come.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
It is my hope that we are in a more circular economy everyone is composting and we figure out a way to eliminate landfills. Everyone is driving electric cars there’s trees in every single neighborhood and at least one person on your block owns a community farm.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
I think it starts with making sure home is taken care of. Make sure you are recycling correctly. Make sure you’re paying your trash out properly. Make sure that your block stays clean. Make sure you’re conscious of your environmental footprint. And if you are teaching children young the importance of environmental justice will begin to create a huge movement.
Terrill, thank you for sharing your vision for capturing methane from water.
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