Keep our Island Clean

“What we do in the next ten years will determine the next thousand” – David Attenborough

(For the record, littering is just not cool, man.)

A silly thought a few years back is now coming to fruition, and it sure does feel good. This idea started when I was going to school for massage therapy, and I would be driving on the parkway, thinking to myself, “yo, long island is a fucking dump.”

Stop right there because I already know what you’re thinking. No, it’s not! Oh, but it absolutely is.

Before you try to argue this point, tell me, what is one of the very first things you notice when traveling to a new state? For me, it’s usually how clean it is. Colorado? Gorgeous. Louisiana? Immaculate. Oregon? C’mon son. Washington? Does a bear shit in the woods? Pennsylvania? Pretty baller. Florida? Debatable. Jersey? Doesn’t count. Arizona? Any trash there probably catches on fire within in minutes, but regardless, it’s still a lot cleaner than Long Island.

(The answer was yes, by the way. A bear does indeed, shit in the woods.)

As I began paying more and more attention to how much trash is littered all over the island, an idea began to take hold. All I wanted to do was grab a sign that said something along the lines of “hey fuck-faces, how about we stop littering? Long Island looks like a shit hole, our home looks like a shit hole” and stake it into the ground as I began to clean up the garbage. Yes, I’ll admit that there are a few flaws with that idea, and yes, it is no grand master plan. However, that was the idea when it was in its embryonic stage. Now? Now that idea has evolved into something far greater and far more elaborate…

skeptical hippo

We’ll call this part “the re-work of greatness.” The idea is the same, only this time around the block, I’ve managed to take the word fuck out of the equation and stick to really passive-aggressive signs. I know I know, how does he do it you’re probably wondering.

 

The Turning Points

not my job

Now that you know my grand master plan, I want to let you know how I got to this point because I’m not some extreme environmentalist which I believe is an important piece to take away here. I think most of us have this innate feeling that we need to be of some significance to help make a change in the world or like that meme above, we feel as though “this isn’t my job” so we do nothing, which is fair.

When you look at the environmental issues that we’re facing, this shit can seem daunting to think that one person can ever make a difference and you know what? You’re right. One person can’t make a difference. But if I step up to the plate to do something, and then you do, and then you show this blog to your grandma because it’s the tits and she’s down, well now it seems that one just turned into three. And maybe that three turns into ten as people begin to realize that we each need to play a part. Also, it seems that we got us a fucking party on our hands.

Yes, some roles will be more significant than others; this is a given. But at the end of the day, everyone can play a part no matter how small. The trade-off for living on this planet should be to do what we can to help maintain our balance with nature and maybe this decision won’t happen right away. It didn’t with me. It took me a couple of years and three turning points later to make the switch.

  1. Chasing Coral – About two years ago I watched a documentary on Netflix called Chasing Coral and was blown away (highly recommend the watch), but also felt compelled to do something to help out. So, what did I do to help you’re probably wondering? Well, I’ll tell you. Absolutely fucking nothing! Because what can one person do besides give a few bucks? You see, as much as I did want to help, I didn’t know what to do. I felt that environmental work was not my calling and not the direction that I was being pulled towards, and so I did nothing. Not the coolest shit I’ve ever done.
  2. My Morning Commute – My morning commute looks like you’re driving past Satan’s asshole. You may laugh, but I’m completely serious––like straight up asshole. It has become surreal at this point; however, this may be a blessing in disguise.  Driving past Satan’s asshole day in and day out only makes you wish you were driving past Gods asshole day in and day out. And with this sense of dissatisfaction slowly becoming inescapable, my grand master plan began to make its comeback. Driving past Gods asshole was now in the realm of possibility. There was light at the end of the tunnel––I’ll leave it up to your imagination to decide what that light is.

Our Planet

(Imagine that this is the third bullet, but because I’m going to have a couple of paragraphs off of this one turning point alone, it’s easier to give it its own section.)

The last turning point came right at the time of Our Planet dropping on Netflix. This documentary put me in the same position as Chasing Coral, but this time I knew I needed to act on it.

Our planet is in trouble. That’s just the bottom line if I’m going to be blunt. Antartica melt has tripled in the last decade; by the year 2040, we can expect to see the ice in the north pole completely melted during the summer months. In the last 50 years, the population of wild animals has reduced by 60%; we already destroyed more than 20% of the amazon rainforest and in less than 100 years we might not have any rain forest at all. Coral reefs all around the world are dying due to an increase in sea temperatures which in return decimates the ecosystem that depends on the reefs being alive for food––an ecosystem that we depend on for food.

As you saw in the opening quote, we don’t have the time to keep pushing these issues aside thinking that the next generation of boys and girls are going to solve everything for us. There won’t be anything left for them to fix if we don’t wake up. Let’s look at a picture that I’m sure we’ve all seen before:

63a-Environment-chart

Before you start having a shit fit calling me a hippy, let me state the obvious; yes, there is a hierarchy to life. Life is Life; I get it. But, just because there is, we need to ask ourselves, “is this hierarchy still working for us?”

If all we do is take, and take, and take, without doing so in a conscious, sustainable manner, then what’s going to be left in the decades to come? We’re breaking down biodiversity and biodiversity equals stability across the board. I don’t care if someone eats meat or fish––I still do––but we have to realize that we’re not in a position to do so with reckless abandon anymore. We now have smarter ways to obtain the resources that we need, but it’s going to require a little effort––this is where the clean-up comes into play.

The Clean-Up

The idea is super simple; schedule a clean-up once a month somewhere on Long Island in hopes to raise awareness/money to help these prominent issues that we’re facing all over the world.

Where

The locations will most likely be left up to you guys. Please, if you know of a spot that could use some help, reach out and let me know. It could be a park, a parkway, a highway, your commute to work, your neighborhood, basically anywhere that looks like Satan’s asshole.

Imagine it like this; we clean up your commute to work, that commute now increases your overall happiness by 2% because the lack of trash now makes you feel less on edge. Boom, you’re 2% happier and that 2% begins to not only affect you, but the ones around you benefit. It’s a win-win.

Who

The week(s) leading up to a cleanup, the location will be blasted on social media to give the heads up to anyone who might want to join and help. There’s your who right there. You are the who and if you don’t show up, no hard feelings. This is not to guilt trip people into doing this but should you have a free day and would like to help clean up this island, come join, me, ya boy.

Passive Aggressive Signs

I wasn’t kidding about these passive aggressive signs. They’re an essential part in this grand master plan. Without the signs people would be driving by wondering the fuck is going on, so, naturally, we need signs. And lots of them.

Every sign will be different. Mostly silly signs, enough to a get a chuckle will be golden. Once we get even a slight smile, we got those mother fuckers. But, there will also be signs guiding them to the Keep our Island Clean Instagram page, and the Plumfund site where the donation will be held.

What’s a Plumfund site?

Plumfund

Plumfund is just another website where you can make a page to raise money but out of all the sites (Kickstarter, Crowdrise, GoFundMe) this is cheapest when it comes to the percentage of money that they take in the end. All proceeds will go directly to a charity out there fighting the good cause. Most likely it will be a different charity each month. The site is already up and running, so please, if anyone part of you wants to help out in any way, I’ll leave the link below so you can donate.

Donation: https://plumfund.com/charity-fundraising/keep-our-island-clean

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/keepourislandclean/

Practical Steps

So, what’s the plan? Reduce our impact and make sure that everything we do, we can do forever. Here’s an overview taken directly from Our Planet’s website and a few practical steps that we can begin to incorporate into our daily lives.

On the larger scale:

  1. Phasing out fossil fuels and replacing them with renewables.
  2. Upgrading to efficient food production and reducing our consumption of meat. Meaning, using less space, to provide for ourselves leaving more for grasslands, reducing deforestation, and feeding more people with healthier and affordable food.
  3. Working together to manage our ocean properly.
  4. Working hard to keep hold of the wild animal populations we still have.

5 steps to help:

  1. Make our diet as plant-based as possible.
  2. Only buy sustainable fish and meat.
  3. Switch to clean energy providers.
  4. Choose deforestation-free palm oil products.
  5. Buy wood and paper products from well-managed forests

Listen, I said it before, and I’ll say it again, I don’t claim to be some extreme environmentalist who has dedicated his life to saving the planet. Shit, I don’t even know if I’ll still be doing this months down the road. But what I do know is that right now this works with where I’m at in life. I may not be the person who’s dealing with these major issues on a first-hand basis, but maybe that’s not my role. Maybe my role is to help the people out there who are really getting their hands dirty by continuing to make sure their information gets spread around and makes its way to more people.

So, while maybe that’s my role, maybe your role is far bigger than mine. Beginning to see how we feed off each other? This is how we work together; this is how we step up to the plate and play our part.

“I’d love to change the world
But I don’t know what to do
     So I’ll leave it up to you”

 – Ten Years After

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