Chad Pregracke grew up spending all his time either in, on or around the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. By the time he was 17, he began to realize the extent of the pollution for a river that provided drinking water for 18 million people. At age 23, he founded an organization that has engaged over 87,000 volunteers and taken 8.4 million pounds of garbage from 22 rivers across the United States. And he hasn't stopped there - his organization gives educational workshops, plants trees, removes invasive species... Find out more about this everyday hero.

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  • patjos

    Love this. What a wonderfully inspirational initiative. No doubt this work plants so many seeds of inspiration and hope in the Volunteers’ lives, in those who hear of this, in those who visit the area. Spreading Awareness of the plight of the wildlife and hightlighting what caused the need for this project in the first place. Wonderful to see such collective action producing far greater results than any one political leader of system ever could (as if they ever could!) Wonderfully inspiring!

  • Diego Mier y teran

    Chad’s work, his commitment, is undoubtedly inspiring and worthy of applause. We need more people like him and his volunteers. Nevertheless it’s work that deals with the effects, not the causes, of the problem. It’s not addressing the structural causes of who creates all that garbage or who profits by using th river as dumpster, or the underlying narrative by which we understand nature as something separate from us, for example. I fear that these initiatives, as great as they are, also reproduce the idea that solutions to the pollution problem lie in individual action, not in structural, political changes.

  • Charles Vail

    I'm a teacher and a big fan of kids. They have the power to change the world, and I think they've figured out some very original ways to accomplish that. Chad may be one in a million, but he is changing the world by engaging 87,000 volunteers, none of whom will ever toss their trash in a river.

  • Kati Short

    It warms my heart to see young people so enthusiastic about cleaning up "the mess." If these folks can continue their enthusiasm and get leaders involved, there will be hope for our planet.

  • Pat

    I LOVE this video because it tells of a person who stood for this as a teen AND remains focused on his goal...truly WONDERFUL tale of an exceptional individual....WOW

  • Carla Golden

    So uplifting, especially after our president guts the clean water act.

  • dhir shah

    surprising. cleaning places like Mississippi River. really wonderful

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