IVA is thrilled to announce a new collaboration with the environmental Belgium initiative, Leo Not Happy, as part of YouthMundus. Leo Not Happy was founded by Adel, an engaged young Belgian student whose goal it is to raise awareness about the garbage and cigarette butt problem in Brussels. Inspired by Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2016 Oscar speech where the Revenant actor took the opportunity to raise attention to the importance of climate change, Adel decided that enough was enough and that he would help contribute with his part by organizing a new initiative which would help bring people together to fight the increasingly growing problem.
It didn’t take long for people to notice the initiative's hard work. Adel gained the support of fellow residents, who volunteered to organize the initiative’s first garbage street collection. Since its launch in 2016, Leo Not Happy has organized numerous cleaning actions all across Brussels alongside fellow residents. The latest street collection brought together nearly 200 people of all ages, from all neighborhoods and sometimes even tourists who got inspired to join in on the movement. Together, they all collected 120,000 cigarette butts just in the city center of Brussels alone, exceeding the initial goal of 30,000.
WHY REMOVE CIGARETTE BUTTS? Depending on the conditions of the area the cigarette butt is discarded in, it can take 18 months to 10 years for a cigarette filter to decompose. Used cigarette filters are full of toxins, which can leach into the ground and waterways, damaging living organisms that come into contact with them. Most filters are discarded with bits of tobacco still attached to them as well, further polluting our environment with nicotine, which is poisonous. Cigarette filters are also a threat to wildlife that can ingest them, mistaking filters for food, and to small children, who may eat them if they are within reach.
The main purpose behind Leo Not Happy is to encourage and motivate each citizen and resident to come together and take proactive pick-up cleaning actions in their local communities. It’s up to each and every individual to change their habits and take responsibility for their cities’ upkeeps, including how one chooses to look at pollution and garbage.
The inspiration behind the initiative’s distinct logo came from Adel wanting to give the initiative a humorous touch and make garbage pick-up a fun activity that would bring local communities together everywhere. The concept: a small cardboard box, flanked by a jaded smile, which he photographs in front of the garbage of the city to denounce the gestures of incivility and invite the residents to participate in garbage collection.
Our team at IVA is incredibly excited to be collaborating with Leo Not Happy, and inspire people all around the world to take more proactive environmental action within their local communities, and thus ultimately helping protect our one shared planet!
Thank you for your continuous support and love,
Lots of love, #Team IVA