Earth Day was a huge bust

I keep thinking about Earth Day, about how I didn’t do enough, how I wasted it. I wrote about it. I picked up a ton of trash. Well, not a ton, but some. I picked up some trash. The world just needs so much more healing. I could have helped to heal it so much more. Just a little bit more healing would have been a little bit toward a long way of long term healing, renewal, growth.

Like, I had this idea about buying some water filters, you know, the ones that you put in a pitcher and you run your tap water through them and the water gets purified. I thought, OK, I could like buy one, or three of them, because I think they come in three packs. One pack of three filters. I could buy it and throw them in the East River. Do you know how disgusting the East River is? Very disgusting. It smells like, well, I don’t even know exactly how to describe it. But it’s not pleasant.

So I thought, you know, maybe this would be me doing me part, a very small part, hardly noticeable at all. But I’d be filtering some water, even if just a couple of drops. What if, in the future, like generations from now, there’s some dying child who might survive if only he or she had a couple of drops of clean water? Like, I know it’s probably unlikely, but there has to be a line between dying of thirst and not dying of thirst, and what if that line was just those drops that I’d be saving?

But then I thought, no, because what about the plastic filters? After they finished purifying all of the water that they could filter, the remnants of their spent shells would just add to the pollution. What good is a couple of drops of clean water if just downstream, that little piece of plastic gets picked up by a seagull? And the seagull might carry it out to the ocean. And once that seagull drops it in the ocean, I don’t know, there could be like an otter or a manatee, and it might try to eat the filter. And it would choke and die. Did I really feel like shouldering that potential responsibility?

I didn’t. I returned the filters. I didn’t have a receipt, because I’m very environmentally conscious, and so every time I buy something at a store, even before the clerk has a chance to say, “Hello,” I tell him or her, “Listen, I don’t need a receipt. It’s a huge waste of paper. There are just too many paper receipts out there, littering the sidewalks, filling up the landfills. Do you guys have any paperless options? Something green, something eco-friendly?” and usually I never return stuff, but this time it was kind of a pain in the ass. The clerk had to get a manager, the manager was reluctant to refund my money, I had to go into my whole no-receipt philosophy, and I was halfway through explaining how long those receipts take to biodegrade before the manager was just like, whatever, here’s your money, please leave.

And I’ve been feeling kind of off ever since, like, man, I wish there was more I could do for the river, for the earth. That’s when I had this thought, this brilliant idea. I could buy a bunch of fishing lines, and instead of a hook, I could attach the water filter. And so I’d cast out the lines and keep them in there for however long it would take for all of the filtering properties to be used up, and then I could reel them in and dispose of them properly.

So I’ve been kind of in a funk, wishing that I had thought of this idea on Earth Day, not weeks after Earth Day. If only I could have really taken advantage of the holiday, people might have been like, “What are you doing?” and I’d be like, “Oh, you know, it’s Earth Day, so I’m doing my part to help clean up the water.”

But then I went back to the drug store and I started looking at the water filters, but the box didn’t say what type of plastic was used for the casing. I took it to the register and asked the clerk, “Excuse me, do you know if this plastic is recyclable? Is it BHP free?” and the clerk wouldn’t even talk to me. She just stared at me, unwilling to even try to help me help the world, which she’s a part of. I’d be helping her out too.

Man, it’s tough being such a lone environmentalist. I can’t wait for the global shift in consciousness that I keep reading about online. Until then, I’ll just have to keep my head down, try to forget about what a bust this Earth Day was, do some research on sustainable water filters, just keep trying to make a difference, spreading the word, you know, any way I can help out, help the planet.

One thought on “Earth Day was a huge bust

  1. John Munday

    Perhaps Earth Day for you this year was not dramatic and Earth-shaking, but you gave it personal attention and contributed some action. This is very good and you are to be applauded.

    The Earth Day idea is much more than simply environmental clean-up. It was originally conceived by John McConnell, peace activist, as a way to promote peace and justice on this planet. When we see Earth Day in its larger context, as advanced by John McConnell, we will be rejuvenated in our efforts to protect and conserve our planetary home.

    While many people give Sen. Gaylord Nelson the principal credit for the first Earth Day, this is incorrect — McConnell conceived the idea and the name, and not only proposed it at the 1969 UNESCO conference in San Francisco, but arranged for its first celebration in San Francisco and other cities on the spring equinox, March 21, 1970. Nelson’s group took the name without attribution, and applied it to their own “environmental teach-in” on April 22 the same year, one month later.

    McConnell’s idea was to have Earth Day on the spring equinox, a geophysical day free of cultural bias or national politics. His mantra for Earth Day is Peace, Justice, and Earth Care. His equinox Earth Day has been celebrated on the spring equinox at the UN in New York (and in other locations) every year since 1971 (it was endorsed on that date by then Secretary-General U Thant with a press release and an address at the event). See John McConnell’s autobiography — at .
    I hope you will add McConnell’s autobiography to list of books to read about Earth Day.

    Thank you. I edited the above book.

    There is another important book about the history of Earth Day – a biography of John McConnell by Robert Weir — see the webpage about it at




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