Wednesday, March 3, 2010

east county activists prepare to walk across country

Y'all might remember musician/activist/friend of JUTP Davey Rogner from our story two years ago on a student-led campaign against the InterCounty Connector, or maybe from his [now-defunct] band, Lonely are the Brave. When he recently told me about his plans to spend the next year and a half walking to San Francisco, I was impressed more than I was confused.

Most of my newly-graduated friends are either working or looking for work. But Davey, who grew up in White Oak, and a couple of his friends will leave in less than three weeks to walk from Maryland to California, organizing community trash clean-ups and leading discussion about "alternatives to our nation's throwaway mentality." Their campaign, dubbed Pick Up America, will maintain a heavy online presence during their trip. Pick Up America's holding a fundraiser tomorrow at the Sandy Spring Friends Meeting, and Davey sent out this letter to friends and family explaining their trip:

On March 20th, 2010 I am leaving to walk across the country and pick up trash for over a year and a half. As you have been a part of my life in some way, I feel it is my responsibility to let you know of my eminent departure. This journey, known as Pick Up America, is the the ultimate test of my physical, mental and spiritual stamina.

I know that by the time I complete this journey I will be drastically different. My first and primary motive for walking is to actualize my full potential. There is something inside me stirring; telling me that if I can improve myself, I can inspire others to take the proactive steps that will improve their lives. Through our website, social media, and short videos, our campaign hopes to illuminate a paradigm that measures well-being by the inner happiness one feels, as opposed to the material comforts one can gather. Pick Up America is my addition to the conversation of how we can reform the American lifestyle to become happier and healthier.

Like so many in the past, our path will mimic the great American migration west in search of more bountiful resources. Throughout our walk we will be speaking to people about how to sustain America's natural resources for generations to come. We believe that the concept of waste can and should be eliminated from the human paradigm. Yes, we are talking about RECYCLING and COMPOSTING, but more importantly we are addressing the pressing need to REDUCE and REUSE the number of products we consume on a daily basis. Simply put, we live in a finite world and the insatiable appetite of (not only) the American economy has overtaken the ability of the natural world to regenerate. If we continue along this path, the vital support base that the natural world provides to our economy will collapse and we will experience a serious downgrade in the human experience.

I would like to invite you to Pick Up America’s March Forth Fundraiser (on March 4th) at Sandy Spring Friends Community Center in Ashton, MD. The event will feature a description of our entire initiative, a three course vegetarian meal, jazz standards, local art that depicts our route, a raffle with cool prizes, as well as keynotes from the new mayor of College Park, MD Andy Fellows and Brent Bolin, the policy advocate for the Anacostia Watershed Society. We are asking for a minimum donation of $30 to attend. I have attached a flyer that details the event. Please RSVP as soon as possible as space is very limited.

In essence I am leading four people under the age of twenty-five into the heartland of America picking up trash, giving presentations about zero-waste economies and documenting our adventure on the internet. Along our path, we will be doing anything and everything we can to help people develop the ideas of how their community can actualize sustainability. The task is monumental and our success is wholly dependent upon our ability to communicate our vision and develop alternatives with interested individuals. It is also wholly dependent upon our ability to generate support from people who believe in this vision and would like to contribute to our adventure.

Please share Pick Up America with as many people you feel may be interested. If you would like to support Pick Up America, but can not make the fundraiser, please visit our website,, and make a contribution through paypal. I have taken the steps to designate our group as a non-profit, so all donations we receive will be tax deductible for your 2010 tax return as long as I provide you with the proper documentation. I will be trading slips in exchange for checks at the fundraiser. If you can’t make the fundraiser, donate and need documentation please write to me and I will get you the appropriate form.

Please contact me before I go if you would love to talk about my adventure!!!! Trust me, I can use all the advice I can get!!!!

All the Best,

Davey Rogner
Campaign Coordinator
Pick Up America


Mike Lofquist said...

Why is Davey so possesive about this movement? I remember 3 years ago when Jeff Chen, founder of Picl Up America, came up with this idea to walk across the country. Now some kid I've never even heard of says he will be leading Jeff and others. The audacity and selfishness of Davey is sickening. He has literally turned PUA into a corporation where he is the CEO who takes all of the credit for the ideas and hard work of the rest of the company, while all he has done is flapped his mouth. Jeff and co., including Davey, I wish you the best of luck on this important and necessary excursion. God bless.

Jeff said...

Hey Mike...

This is Lof, right? not sure if this was a joke or not, but i thought I'd respond anyway.

just wanted to clear things up... i thought of the idea, yes, but Davey is sort of the Campaign Director for our trek. He's got a lot of skills that I don't have. The four of us are working as a team. I pulled Davey into it, cuz I know of his great ability to organize a team. It ain't like the corporation you speak of.

also, that was an excerpt from a letter he wrote to friends and family. Davey's a sincere dude, and he deserves a lot of this recognition. And he's more connected with the people on this website, so that's probably why they chose to write about Davey.

Anyways, thanks for the Blessings. see ya soon!

-Jeff, PUA

Silver Spring: Then and Again said...

Please include historic preservation as an "...alternatives to our nation's throwaway mentality."

Owners of perfectly serviceable buildings (e.g. the 1958 Perpetual Building Association at Georgia & Cameron) who would rather tear them down than adaptively reuse them are emblematc of this mentality.

retgroclk said...

8 years ago during the gubernatorial primary-- I was the only candidate to oppose the ICC.

The Sierra League which also opposed the ICC endorsed Leggett who supported the idea.Hmmmm.
I also suggested that we stop people from picnics in our parks unless they paid for a license and trash fee.

It appears that people no longer picnic in the parks only pigs judging from the amount of trash I see in Sligo Creek Park.
Maybe we should ban all picnics in the park,.

The Harvest Collective said...

Don't mean to discredit other members of the team. When speaking about PUA credit is always given to Jeff as the creator. By no way will our group ever be a corporation; we are a non-profit dedicated to enhancing and empowering the ideas of youth to spur local sustainable growth. If we spent time together you would know my character as one who is very outspoken, but acts with compassion. Jeff introduced the idea to me. I fell in love with it and have been working closely with him for quite some time now to actualize it.

This was a letter I sent to friends and family intending to let them know of my departure and asking for support. Not sure if it was supposed to be viewed in this context, but it is cool.

Please don't be sickened by me, rather join us to clean up this nation.