These are just some of the volunteers who participated in a beach cleanup on July 8. (Levi Hildebrand)

Over 50 dedicated individuals proved that it doesn’t take much to make a difference in the world, as they all descended upon the Gorge Waterway on July 8 and gathered a whopping 1,000 pounds of trash!

The beach cleanup was co-hosted by Levi Hildebrand, Leah Tidey, and Surfrider Vancouver Island, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans and beaches.

Hildebrand and Tidey were the winners of Victoria’s BYO Bag contest all ages and people’s choice video categories. By winning the people’s choice, the pair received $500, which they immediately put towards the beach cleanup.

Amongst the trash one would expect to find on a beach, Hildebrand said the group discovered a piece of railroad track, and even a few Phillips Brewery growlers.

Check out Hildebrand’s video of the day’s activities:

Cleanup was part of Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July started in Australia in 2011 as a way to encourage participants to give up single-use plastics for one month. The movement has now spread worldwide and envisions “a world without plastic waste.”

“Participating in #plasticfreejuly is just a mentality shift. Reminding yourself constantly that you can do things without plastic is the best way to slowly reduce them from your entire life,” Hildebrand writes via email.

“I carried a loaf of bread home from the bakery in my hand because I didn’t want a bag … people thought it was kinda weird but hey. No plastic right?”

People can host their own Plastic Free July events, and share them on social media with the hashtag #plasticfreejuly—all to raise awareness of just how much plastic we use.

You can see more of Hildebrand’s videos at his YouTube channel, which he says aims to change the dialogue around environmentalism by “focusing on individuals, innovations, and ideas that make the world a better place.”

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