Disney Planet Possible: Young activist helps heal environment with nearly 1K days of trash cleanups

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- As we celebrate Earth Month this April, a young climate activist is helping to raise awareness by making a positive impact on the environment, taking on a monumental task.

Edgar McGregor, whose singular focus is to clean up Eaton Canyon in Pasadena, has been cleaning up trash others have left behind, filling up at least two buckets at a time, for nearly 1,000 days.

"I really enjoy the weather and climate. I also really enjoy nature. I like coming out to the parks every day and seeing how everything changes to the seasons," McGregor said. "And it was through doing that that I realized, 'you know, there's some trash out here, and I don't know if anyone's actually cleaning this stuff up,' so it never really occurred to me that I was underestimating the amount of trash in this park."

McGregor estimates he's removed well over 15,000 pounds of trash.

"Originally, I had a Twitter account so that I could send pictures to the weather channel when I saw crazy weather, but I kept using it for fun, and I would tweet weather statistics, but things really took off when I started the daily trash pickup,' he said. "Eventually when I got to around day five or 600, one of my tweets went viral when I, you know, hit kind of a milestone."

"I was out here for at least an hour every single day cleaning up my park and I can finally say this place is clean," McGregor said in a video he posted to social media celebrating the occasion.

RELATED | Local student spends more than a year cleaning up trash at Eaton Canyon
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A local student has been visiting the popular hiking trail at Eaton Canyon in Pasadena several days a week for more than a year to pick up trash.



Climate activist Greta Thunberg even responded with congratulations.

Since that major accomplishment, McGregor has continued his cleanups, not just at Eaton Canyon, but other local trails.

"I started doing this every week and it was then that I realized, 'if I'm going to clean up this park, I need to be here every day,' and so I started doing this every single day," he said.

"There is a hundred times as much trash as I thought there was in this park, and every other park that I've cleaned up," McGregor added. "Coming out to the park every single day, I started interacting with a lot more weather than I thought would even happen here in Pasadena."

And his parents couldn't be prouder.

"He's one small cog in the whole world. It's not for the attention. This is a life-long passion," said Melinda McGregor, Edgar's mother. "He will incorporate this into the rest of his life."

"In his example, not everybody is going to pick up trash, but if they're doing something for their city, their local community, their park," said Edgar's father, Edgar McGregor III. "I think that's really cool, and I've learned that I take that to heart."

RELATED | Climate activist, 20, cleans up litter at Eaton Canyon for 633 days and counting
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A local student and activist has made it his mission to spruce up the popular trails at Eaton Canyon in Pasadena. He's been working for 633 days and counting.



McGregor is single-handedly creating the change he wants to see.

"There's always been a big debate in the climate movement about whether or not we need individual climate action, or systematic climate change," he said. "Climate activism is systematic change and individual action. We need both of them in order to solve this problem."

Check out the rest of ABC7's Earth Month coverage at abc7.com/earthmonth.

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