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Clean Up Day in Melbourne

This uniquely Australia day fell on the Sunday 4 March 2007.

Liked previous years DDM members turned up in a large group to help in the clean up of the Westerfords Park on the out skirt of Melbourne

Liked last year this joint activity was sponsored by the local Stockland Shopping Centre who also set up a marquee to manage the registration of volunteers. Stockland Management had generously prepared the gift bags to give away.

About 50 people participated including many shoppers from the shopping centre. DDM Melbourne committee wishes to express their gratitude to Management for the support rendered throughout the year and also for the monetary donation during their oriental promotion month. DDM members participated in many of the activities including a demonstration on the 8-form moving meditation and gift-wrapping service for the Christmas shoppers.

The Park is a native green area that needs to be cleaned due to the high traffic that utilises this area. The willing volunteers removed litter around the parkland and banks of the Yarra River, which flows into Port Philip Bay. An estimated three million pieces of litter float down the River every year and this community effort would go a long way to reducing the amount of rubbish ending up in bay. The combined effort also removed the litter from the play ground and BBQ area that the communities and families congregated at the weekends.

Clean Up Australia Day has grown to be Australia's largest community-based environment campaign, which has inspired communities Australia wide to clean up, fix up and conserve our natural environment. This national activity annually attracted the support of over half a million volunteers who have had, over the last fifteen years, removed more than 196,000 tonnes of rubbish from around the country.

Community groups, schools, businesses and individuals rallied behind the campaign, which is in its 18th year, at more than 7,000 sites across the country. Up to one million Australians collected more than 8,000 tonnes of rubbish, including half a boat. But, it was disappointing that six out of the 10 most common types of rubbish found were recyclable, including drink cans and bottles. Improving recycling rates would help each Australian household to reduce almost one tonne (0.9 tonne) of greenhouse gas emissions they produced each year by sending waste to landfill. It is estimated that there are seven billion cigarette butts ended up in Australian waterways, streets and parklands and 80 million plastic bags are discarded.

Following the success of the “Clean up Australia day and “Clean up World Day” which is held annually in the month of September. The movement has now focussed on a new campaign to cut household greenhouse gas emissions. The aim is for Clean Up Day volunteers to reduce household greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent a year. The even greater challenge of climate change is now driving volunteers to act year-round to not just reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions but demonstrate in huge numbers to government the need for stronger action, like greater investment in renewable energy technologies would be a win-win for Australia's economy and environment.

It is clear that Clean Up Day promoted must be extended throughout the year. We can't afford to be selfish about our environment. This campaign is also about inspiring Australians to make changes in their everyday lives to better managed their waste, water and energy resources.

DDM members have had participated on this annual event for many years. Besides bringing our family members to join the rank, we are also encouraging our friends and neighbours to join in this activity. Our Shifu Ven. Master Sheng Yen advocates the importance of protecting our living and natural environments in his campaign on the “Four kinds of Environmentalism”.

His vision is for everyone to live a simple, natural life with contentment and few desires; and to recognise and cherish one’s blessings. He emphasises that we should feel grateful to mother earth and realise that humanity is an integarted part of nature. Hence, we should have a spiritual and moral duty to protect the natural environment from pollution and destruction. He also reminds us that Zen spiritual practice is embaded in ordinary daily activities. All DDM members have participated in this event in keeping with the true spirit of this ideal, which Shifu first expounded at the Millienium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders.

(Reported by Chiew shin Yee DDM Melbourne. 10 March 2007)

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