WESTMINSTER, Colo. — Summer vacation is typically a time for camping trips, rides down the water slide and staying up past your bedtime. That’s not the case for Peyton Akita.
At least once a month for the past two years, Peyton and her mom have traveled to parks and trails around the Denver metro area picking up litter.
“It started through COVID when everybody was locked down and bored. We started to clean up the Earth and do our part,” said Peyton’s mom Dawn Cochrane.
We caught up with Peyton and her mom while they cleaned up Tanglewood Creek Open Space in Westminster.
For Peyton, this all started after she heard a song.
“I saw this video and it was a song about Earth, and it was like, ‘Year 2045, I don’t think we’re gonna survive,’ because it talks about all the animals dying and all the trash on the ground,” Peyton said. “So, I was like, I don’t want that to happen. I want to stay here on Earth alive.”
One of Peyton’s biggest hauls was on Earth Day, when 15 bags of trash were filled. Peyton recruited the help of her friends for that pickup.
“I asked them like, 'Do you guys want to help us clean up trash? Because we want to help Earth and all the animals need help. We need help.' And they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, sure!’” Peyton said.
Wondering what Peyton’s biggest litter pet-peeve is? Plastic straws.
“I’ve seen videos of straws getting stuck in turtles’ nose so they can’t breathe and eventually die,” Peyton said. “Some birds eat them and die, so that’s why I really dislike straws.”
Who knows what the future holds, but Peyton hopes she can continue changing the world, one bag at a time.
“I’d like to inspire more people to help clean up trash," she said. "The more we do, the more trash will be gone, the more we can stay on Earth.”