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Plog and Plalk—Pick up Litter!

Oct 31, 2020
clip art of two people picking up trash

Strive to be shining examples unto all mankind, and true reminders of the virtues of God amidst men.

Bahá’u’lláh, Tablet of Wisdom

November 2020, Christine Muller

A few years ago, six Baha’is were arrested because they picked up trash outside the city of Shiraz. Many people around the world have started the practice of plogging which means picking up litter while jogging. The word comes from the Swedish “plogga” for “pick” and jogging. Plalking is just walking and picking up trash. Why should we do this?

First, plastics are not bio-degradable and will stay in the environment for hundreds of years. When they break down into small pieces they will be absorbed by soil and water, and will end up in the food chain and poison humans and animals.

Second, litter harms wildlife and literally kills many birds—an estimated 1 million seabirds each year—because they confuse it with food.

Third, removing litter will restore beauty and purity to the landscape. A side benefit is that it will keep you fit. Stretching down and squatting to pick up litter is good exercise. Of course, we need to protect ourselves by using gloves and then washing our hands thoroughly.


Christine Muller, Teacher of Music and the Environment

Board Secretary, International Environment Forum

I was interested in environmental issues already at a young age and became a Bahá’í when I was 17, which was the beginning of a life-long study of the Bahá’í Faith. As the environmental crisis was worsening, I began to systematically study climate change at a time when not much information was easily available. I also searched the Bahá’í teachings for a spiritual solution to the climate crisis. At that time, climate change was not known to most people and there were no educational materials available. That’s why I wrote Scientific and Spiritual Dimensions of Climate Change – an Interfaith Study Course, which the International Environment Forum posted in 2009. I joined the Wilmette Institute as support faculty for its Sustainable Development course in 2011 and created its Climate Change course the following year. I also teach a course on climate change for the Environmental Sciences Department of the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) in Iran. I have served on the board of RI Interfaith Power&Light for more than a decade. In recent years, much of my time is spent serving the Bahá’í-inspired International Environment Forum ( as its secretary.  My formal academic background is in music, and I enjoy part-time piano teaching, playing and - when there is time - composing music. A recent composition is Humans on Earth – a Ballad of Our Time for two singers, string orchestra, piano, and percussion. Its lyrics include quotations from scientific sources and the Bahá’í Writings. Christine’s articles on BahaiTeachings.orgSee Faculty Bio


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