Protecting the environment is in our nature!
Serve The City, which belongs to a larger global network, has been operating in Luxembourg since 2012. While it is primarily known for being a pillar in the social domain, another, lesser-known mission of the organisation is to dedicate its resources to serving environmental causes. Even since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, this commitment has not weakened, as explained by Nicolas Duprey, president of the association: “Preserving the environment and raising awareness on environmental issues have always been at the heart of our mission and a key concern to our community of volunteers. We managed to adapt our activities to the current sanitary crisis by making our Gross Boutz 100% remote in 2020, meaning the entire community was able to make real change right outside their front door, by collecting trash in the vicinity of their own neighborhood.”
The lift on certain pandemic-related restrictions in 2021 brought back the possibility to participate in collective activities, particularly outdoor ones. We began re-organizing projects as early as March, when we initiated a clean-up activity around Kockelscheuer which resulted in over 500 litres of trash being collected within only 2 hours, as well as in May with our famous Gross Boutz which had hundreds of volunteers participating in all parts of Luxembourg! “In order to minimise health risks, we decided to separate into smaller teams of about 10, dispersed throughout all of Luxembourg. As a result, we were represented in the 3 biggest cities in the country, including a dozen or so neighbourhoods within the capital itself.” The feedback we received was also that of a social success : “it offered the chance for our community of volunteers to come together after the lockdown and to re-build connections with others who are motivated by the same desire to do good around them”.
Of course, these kinds of events require much logistical planning over long weeks of preparation. “About a dozen volunteers are called upon for these kinds of events. Without their help, none of this would be possible. Teamwork is a core value of our organisation.” Sonia Castéran, responsible for marketing and logistics adds: “The health and safety of our members is of the utmost importance. We invested in high-visibility reflective jackets to ensure that our people are visible in places with dangerous or high traffic, and in trash pickers in order to safely and easily grasp objects without risking contamination. The reflective jackets also make us stand out in the streets and help raise other citizens’ awareness to our cause.” We also noticed that many face masks were recovered during the cleanups.
Even yet, Serve The City will stop at nothing when it comes to fighting pollution. “We have decided to implement clean-up activities all throughout the year on a smaller scale. The Grouss Botz or the World Cleanup Day have highlighted the need for massive collective action but we also want to encourage our members to take personal action within their neighbourhoods in smaller teams, in a decentralised manner.” After a highly successful World Cleanup Day on September 18th which garnered 40 volunteers in the Cloche d’Or district, the next clean-up activity will take place on October 23rd in the Gare district. Stay tuned!
Translated by Camille R.