Do you regularly walk, roll or stroll around your neighbourhood, beach or forest? Are you searching for a way to make a direct impact on our communities and see change right before your eyes? Well, I encourage you to considering ‘plalking’!

Throughout the pandemic I was looking for ways I could be make a local environmental impact and help this wonderful planet of ours. I stumbled across an article by an outdoorsy Swede named Erik Ahlström who invented the term “plogging” while running in his neighbuorhood in 2016. Plogging means to pick up garbage while jogging and is a blend of the Swedish plocka upp — pick up — and the English word jogging. What a cool concept! I went down a bit of a research rabbit hole and found pliking — picking up trash while biking (which sounds like it requires acrobatic talents far beyond my ability) — and plalking: picking up trash while walking. Now that was something I could get behind, and quickly became the answer to my give-back quest. I began dedicating an hour a week to picking up garbage either in my neighbourhood or on the beach. I was blown away by what a difference I could see immediately in the area I was working in.

Each bag I filled up was a simple way I could make a difference in the community. I even began to invite others to do it with me, and if restrictions did not allow us to be together in person, we would talk on the phone while ‘plalking’. It was a wonderful way to feel connected through conversation, activity and taking care of the planet.

I am no expert, but here are few tips for safe ‘plalking’:

  • Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands and arms
  • Bring a garbage, grocery, or compostable bag
  • Avoid sharp or potentially dangerous items
  • Take a before and after photo to notice the difference and feel proud of the impact you made!

Part of one of my favourite quotes by Helen Keller is “I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.” Plalking makes me feel like I can do something for my community, even if that is picking up the smallest piece of garbage.

As you’re out and about, I hope you seek opportunities to make your surroundings cleaner, brighter and more enjoyable for all! Happy ‘plalking’!


This blog was written by Carolyn MacDonald, Head of Programs Victoria, at Power To Be. A passionate advocate for people living with barriers, Carolyn wants everyone to experience the brilliance and power of nature.