The 8th Annual UTW DAY
CELEBRATING POSITIVE LOCAL ACTIONS WORLDWIDE
The 8th Annual UTW Day took place on Saturday, September 19, 2020, and as in previous years, we had participants in countries around the globe: Australia, the Philippines, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada and the USA.
Our event here at the UTW Headquarters in Los Angeles, California took place at Clear Skies Ranch, where formerly incarcerated men are given the chance to reconnect with the outside world after being released from prison.
To beat the heat, we gathered in the early dawn, and after briefly meeting everyone, volunteers and residents jumped right into the hard work.
Together, we built a chicken coop and run, finished the picket fence for the vegetable garden, cleaned up brush, and planted tall banana trees and other tropical plants that had generously been donated by Green Sets Inc.
At 10 am, we paused for a guided meditation that UTW supporter Nigel Lott hosted via Zoom from his hometown Seattle.
The meditation was centered around loving kindness. Sitting quietly for 15 minutes, focussing on our breathing, gave everyone a sense of deep calm, and the energy needed to continue our work in the scorching heat.
A little later in the morning, UTW supporter Jon Linton, creator of the Let’s Be Better Humans campaign, who had driven all the way from his hometown Phoenix to L.A. to join us, arrived and people took a welcomed break from working to get a tour of Jon’s beautiful bus.
Around 2 pm, after working hard for 8 hours, everyone was starving! Luckily Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Melville, executive Director of Clear Skies Ranch, had prepared a variety of yummy vegetarian salads and a mountain burgers, and together, we finished off the day sharing a fantastic meal.
Throughout the day, we enjoyed musical performances by Clear Skies Ranch residents Jazz and Autry, volunteer Cokiid, and MC Radioactive who joined us live via FB.
The day’s success could be measured by the smiles and sound of laughter that filled the air as UTW volunteers and house members worked side by side.
Only a few days before UTW Day 2020, Mike Rinker, a beekeeper from Wöllstadt, a small town near Frankfurt, Germany, sent us his application.
Two months ago, Mike and his family adopted a dog named Luna, a rescue from a dog killing station in Romania. From the day Luna arrived in their home, Mike’s family made it a habit to take her on long walks, four times a day. Mike couldn’t help but notice the massive amount of trash along the paths, and he decided to pick up trash while out and about with Luna.
Thinking of ways how how he could turn this positive one-man-action into a much bigger one for UTW Day 2020, Mike quickly reached out to a local group on Facebook, as well as to dog owners via a German app called ‘Dogorama’, asking everyone to join him for a day of trash collection. His idea received many likes on both, FB and the app, and while the actual participation on UTW Day was not as big as Mike had hoped for, he is still very happy with those who stepped up to the plate!
Like Jens Müller, one of Mike’s colleagues, who picked up 1,220 cigarette stubs. He explains: “These would otherwise poison 48,000 liters of drinking water”. Other participants collected trash like plastic bottles and bags.
In the past years, our official UTW Day Co-Producer Valentijn Vogel and his wife Janneke in Rotterdam, The Netherlands used to organize concerts at their restaurant, Allegaartje, to celebrate Unfuck The World Day, and raise money for local charities.
For Unfuck The World Day 2020, they decided to do something different. Valentijn and Janneke planned to put together an hour long reel that they were going to play in a loop at the restaurant, for all customers to see, and they were also going to make it available online.
The goal was to raise money for Stichting Isaak & de Schittering, a local organization that provides free food vouchers to those in need. The two reached out to local bands, asking them for a video of them playing one of their songs, and many bands followed their call!
To complete the reel, Valentijn and Janneke included interviews with the volunteers at Stichting Isaak & de Schittering.
Many people donated online, Valentijn and Janneke contributed a portion of their sales, and they were able to collect the awesome amount of €400,-, that will now be used to finance food vouchers!
Many thanks to the bands who gave their time, love and energy to support this cause! Here is what Valentijn sent us: “This year was a bit strange, I missed having a “live” event but I really loved it that all these bands sent in such awesome videos for us to share. Every video I received felt like a present!”
This year, second time UTW Day organizer Augustine Ang in Melbourne, VIC was planning to organize a nature walk in Brimbam National Park. The walk was going to be guided by an aboriginal elder, giving participants the amazing opportunity not only to connect with the land, but to learn about its rich cultural history, much of which is not being taught in schools. Unfortunately, due to recently enforced, stricter Covid-19 regulations, Augustine was not allowed to gather a large group of people. Instead, he organized a global, online Meditation Circle, guided by the awesome Dilara Yaka.
Longtime UTW Day organizer Melissa Flores Pertacorta was joined this year by her partner Villy Jason Baybayan and their friends Yshmaela Villaruz Abrera aka Smile and Carlos Cueva Sanchez aka Prolet. Together, the four planned a big, all day event at the Apo Family Resort in Subic, Philippines.
Due to the pandemic, they had to cancel the planned event last minute. Instead, they gathered their friends and UTW supporters for a day of fruit tree planting.
Here is what Melissa wrote: “It was a sunny morning in Olongapo City as we started walking up to our chosen spot for our whole-day activity. We were 16 in the group, each of us carrying fruit-bearing trees like atis and star apple or “kayimito”, as an old lady explained while we were passing by in front of her cute house on our way to the mountain.
After a 30 minute walk, we rested for a minute to take pictures of the stunning view of Subic Bay, then continued on until we finally reached our destination. The place was very refreshing, giving us a tranquil respite from the daily bustle of our lives. The sound of bamboo shoots swaying in the breeze took us to a peaceful state of mind so we started meditating.
While we are sitting quietly, we were approached by a man who introduced himself as Tatay Rufino, the land keeper of the area. He had not expected to see us and was a little concerned because of the strict safety protocols that must be followed during the pandemic. We put his mind at ease and together, we continued our meditation.
Grounded and energized, we ate our packed lunches of homemade sandwiches and talked about our self-realizations and plans for the present.
Dara, a musician and a teacher, handed out his self-published zines about the Land Defenders and the Indigenous Rights of the People of Zambales. He gave us a better understanding of the current lives of the peasants and indigenous people who were displaced during this crisis. He also taught us how we can make our own zines.
Afternoon gloom started coming in, and following the zine making discussion, we decided it was time to plant our fruit trees. It was nice to see everyone work hand in hand. While we placed the trees at the proper height, and gently, but firmly filled the holes with soil, rain began to fall like a blessing, and we named our trees.
Joyously, we wandered the trail down the hill on our way back home; we expressed our gratefulness to our selves, and planned to return on the coming days to give Tatay Rufino our gratitude for his guidance.”
UTW Day organizer Zakiyyah ‘Kia’ Shahid in Atlanta, Georgia joined us for the second time. This year, Kia teamed up with Giselle Malluche, director of the Atlanta based charity Change To Humanity.
Their event took place in a refugee community in Clarkston, Georgia, that is home to thousands of immigrants from all over the world. Change To Humanity volunteers go out every weekend and take fresh and organic groceries to this community, no matter the weather or the obstacle.
This year, UTW and Change To Humanity worked together on creating an amazing positive local action! Volunteers had filled 100 bags with toys, arts and crafts, musical instruments, STEM gadgets, and other goodies, so that on this special day, not only did the families receive much needed groceries, the children received gifts as well. Kia wrote: ““It was SO BEAUTIFUL!!! What a wonderful day and event, that was filled with beautiful people with beautiful souls. Thanks to Change To Humanity, the 8th Annual Unfuck the World Day Atlanta brought joy to many, and that is how we helped to UNFUCK THIS WORLD!”
UTW supporter Bernd Beigl in Augsburg, Germany believes that we can not improve the world, because it is perfect the way it is. He says that, by trying to improve the universe, we are going to destroy it. To do his part in making the world a better place, he picked up tons of trash during a walk in nature.
Karen Begg in Calgary, AB, Canada came on board just a week before UTW Day 2020. She wrote: “With a cold Canadian winter around the corner, our gardens will be harvested. I will be encouraging my friends, neighbors and community members to donate to a free pantry in Dover SE Calgary, a low income neighborhood.”
Not only did Karen and her friends collect 120 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables, plus eight bags of non-perishable household items, such as cat & dog food, and cleaning and laundry supplies, they also raised $515! Awesome, Karen!!
Our supporter of many years and UTW Day 2013 event organizer, Corinne Gottlieb, and her family in Charleston, SC decided to spread love, in their community and worldwide.
Together, they painted small river rocks and put them in their front yard for anyone who walked by to choose and and take home – and they were taken quickly!
Corinne also hosted a Global Meditation, guided by Nigel Lott, founder of Tea and Zen in Seattle, WA. Nigel is a teacher of meditation practices, and a specialist in the fields of addiction, emotional and somatic healing, breath-work, relationship and communication. His guided meditation was centered around Loving Kindness and Compassion, and anyone interested could join via Zoom.
QUIETEN THE MIND ~ OPEN THE HEART ~ SOOTHE THE SOUL
Join us and host your own Event, Party or Positive Local Action. You could do all sorts of things like • organize a street, forest or beach cleanup • help an elderly neighbor with grocery shopping or lawn mowing • distribute food, water, toiletries or clothes to people experiencing homelessness • create a music event, game night or auction to raise money for a local cause. The choice is yours, as long as it benefits your community or a local charity.
If you are interested in organizing an event, a party or a positive local action in your hometown, no matter how big or small, please contact us! We’d love to hear your ideas and have you on board for a little unfuckery!
The UTW Team, L.A. Headquarters