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Meet 5-year-old Oliver, 'a little guy on a big mission' to keep our beaches clean

"Picking up trash is fun. It saves the sea turtles," the 5-year-old environmentalist from Alabama said.

Meet 5-year-old Oliver, 'a little guy on a big mission' to keep our beaches clean
Cover Image Source: Facebook/Clean Horizons

A five-year-old from Alabama is determined to rid his local beach of all kinds of trash. Oliver Caver, a 5-year-old environmentalist, has become a source of inspiration to thousands of social media users through his routine beach walks to collect pieces of garbage and raise awareness about the dangers of littering. According to WBRC, the young boy gets his "clean gene" from his parents, Maggie and Ryan Caver, who made news a few years ago through their efforts to save the tree tunnels near their Baldwin County home. Following in his parents' footsteps, Oliver has picked up over a ton of trash from beaches so far.


"When COVID hit, it shuttered our businesses. We run a charter boat and we’ve been doing professional family beach photography for 20 years," Caver revealed. "So, we decided not to run the charter boat. Just turn the keys off and weather the storm." Instead of dwelling on what they couldn't do, the Caver family redirected their time and effort to make the world a better—and cleaner—place. "Really it started with my husband. It's kind of been a thing anywhere we go, if there's trash, he’s going to pick it up," explained Maggie. "When I go to the beach with Oliver, that's one of the first things we do is pick up trash."


"Oliver is actually a pretty clean kid. When I ask him to clean up his toys, he cleans up his toys. His room’s pretty clean. Oliver is a worker," she added. "We'd go on two and three-mile walks with Oliver, and he really got into picking up the trash," Caver said of his son. While picking up trash on the beach wouldn't be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of activities a five-year-old might enjoy, Oliver sees his efforts as a way to have fun and help out.


"Picking up trash is fun. It saves the sea turtles," the youngster said. Aside from going on regular beach cleanups, the Caver family has also started the environmental conservation organization Clean Horizons "to inspire younger generations and their families to get involved in environmental actions and find ways to reduce their own plastic consumption while promoting quality family time spent outdoors." According to their website, Oliver "opened his parents' eyes to a world of trash.  When they'd take him to the beach as a baby, he was immediately drawn to every piece of plastic in the sand, putting it straight to his mouth. His parents expressed their dismay, teaching him about the harms of trash."


"As Oliver grew older, he began to question what harm the trash may have on sea creatures," the website adds. "He decided to help protect the creatures by picking up the trash. When packing for beach trips, the trash bags were as important to Oliver as the sand toys. At the early age of four, he declared it his mission to clean all the beaches and pick up three million tons of trash! Oliver led his family on regular beach clean-ups, and his parents started Clean Horizons to help inspire others to clean their beaches."


Now, the Cavers have found another creative way to spread the word about their efforts. "I'm always trying to make little rhymes and be cute with him and I look over and I said, Oliver, 'Litter, litter please come here. Jump in my bucket, you've nothing to fear.' And he was like, 'Dad, that's amazing.' Went home and told Maggie about it and she's like, 'That's kind of neat. Maybe we should write a children's book about it.' Next thing you know, we've got a children's book," said Caver. Litter, Litter, Please Come Here is available for purchase here. Each purchase comes with a promise from the Cavers to remove a pound of trash in the reader's honor.

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