The Everyday Superheroes of Cosplay Clean Up Global

The Everyday Superheroes of Cosplay Clean Up

by Shamindri De Sayrah

Cosplay Clean up Global is a global clean up initiative founded by Lauren Sandeman and Sharan Velauthan.

(Photo credits Nalisha Kumarasinghe)

Inspired by their own drives to do more to instigate change as individuals and as not-so closeted geeks, these 2 everyday superheroes embarked on a mission to  battle one of the greatest villains this world has seen, pollution.

As a volunteer with Sea Shepherd and marine biology student, Lauren was well acquainted with beach clean ups, and with the content strategist mind of Sharan they combined their efforts to create something that will surely be mindset changing. This train of thought - the combination of ocean conservation, pop culture and individual empowerment - got the ball rolling on the idea of Cosplay Clean Up Global; providing the opportunity for people to embrace their own power and encourage the rise of the everyday superhero

Their first event was held in Melbourne on July 20th 2019 at St Kilda Beach, with 70 cosplayers and 178kg of trash collected less than 2 hours.

(Photo credits Nalisha Kumarasinghe)

On the 15th of October, Cosplay Clean up Global held their 1st International Beach Clean up in Sri Lanka at Wellawatta Beach.

(Photo credits Yaseen Khan, Long Weekend LK)

"Sri Lanka is one of the largest plastic polluters. The infrastructure is also not built to get rid of trash effectively (Also I’m from Sri Lanka!), so obviously I was going to bring it home! We want to change mindsets of individuals so that corporates at least start realizing they need to join in this battle as well." Sharan Velauthan.

"In one word to explain the Sri Lankan clean up, heroic." Says Sharan.

With over 60 people in attendance ranging from 6 - 55 years of age. From Spiderman to Supergirl, the Sri Lankan geeks wasted no time taking up arms against this enemy. In this case our arms being rubber gloves and bio degradable bags, provided by Mindful Travels and Project Waves.

(Photo credits Yaseen Khan, Long Weekend LK)

Picking up trash to the tunes of our favorite movie themes playing in the backpack of one of the geeks, even the little kids did their part!

(Photo credits Yaseen Khan, Long Weekend LK)

At the end of the day, this is for our future generations, so to see the kids joining us while we picked up ice cream wrappers and slippers was really something. Despite the gloomy weather, we managed to collect a total of 256kg of trash! And that was just half of the Wellawatta beach.

(Photo credits Yaseen Khan, Long Weekend LK)

Why cosplay? You might ask. Well, as Lauren puts it, "sometimes it takes something done a little differently to get people’s attention, and sometimes it takes physically dressing up to believe in your own power. Ever heard of the saying “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have?” - like that. Dress up as superheroes, feel your potential and power to be a superhero. Conservation can be really fun. Especially when you face a big issue that a lot of people find demoralising - you need fun. You need that splash of colour, that new way to look at the same issue to get it to resonate with people. It’s about inspiring potential."

I can definitely attest to that. Dressing up as a superhero and being a hero are 2 very different things, but thanks to Cosplay Clean Up, we got the chance to embody the heroes we love by making a small difference, channeling our inner and outer hero. 

Sure we may not have been saving the world, but even the smallest difference can lead to a big change. 

"We need to address this problem at its source - the creation and daily use of plastic. We want to build a global community of like-minded people working towards one goal. Hugs and high fives around, but we all knew that more needs to be done. The fight does not end now." - Lauren Sandeman

With more countries, clean ups and partners along their way, Cosplay Clean Up Global has big plans for the future. Their fight is just beginning.

Check them out on Facebook and Instagram for updates on their upcoming Beach Clean Ups, and how to get involved, cause together, we CAN fix this problem!

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