Dear Climate Marchers: Pick up your banners!

In the last 100 days, we have been overflown with a massive wave of People’s Marches. Initially a protest, each of them has become a manifestation of values we believe in, a call to action, a wake up call not only for the White House, but also for the entire world. Walking in perfect formations and wearing knitted hats has become a favorite weekend pastime for many of us, and how can it be any different?

I have seen the Women’s March in Washington, DC. Was it really the biggest protest in American history? Definitely. It looked grand and it felt great. The joy on people’s faces, entire families marching together hand in hand, even dogs were carrying slogans. A multitude of human emotions — outrage, love, devotion — all of it poured out on the streets of Washington, DC.

Photo by: Marina Bulavsky

My feelings began to change towards the end of it, around 4PM. Large crowds dispersed, people settled in quaint little restaurants in Chinatown, some went back to the airport to catch their flights home, but something did stay. Piles and piles of paper that just an hour ago used to be those same banners that were held so proudly up. Giant trash containers placed around the area were full, they were overpowered by the products of human activity.

Photo by: Marina Bulavsky

To me it was a sad sight. First, because people who had cared so much just about an hour ago, were so quick to dismiss their carefully crafted statements. Where did all that passion suddenly go? Second, because people who marched against the government, left it up to the government to pick up their trash, literally. Third, because out of so many banners and signs I’ve seen that day, only few of them were actually made of recycled paper.

If anyone who carelessly disposed of their sign that day, is reading this now, they would probably come up with several excuses like: the trash bins were full, so we had to throw our sign on the ground; it wouldn’t fit on a plane; I couldn’t hold the banner and my kid’s hand at the same time, etc. It makes perfect sense, we are all human.

Photo by: Marina Bulavsky

However, this Saturday, I implore you to do better. Practice what you preach. It will be a Climate March after all. Think of the amount of trees cut down so that you can make your protest signs. How much energy it takes to print those pretty pictures you’ve downloaded specifically for this March. How much extra work the cleaning crew will have to do on a Saturday.

Dear Climate Marchers, pick up your banners… and recycle them!

Here are a few things you can do with your used Climate March sign:

  1. Take it home and frame it, you’ve made history!
  2. Use the other side of it for the next march you’ll be attending;
  3. Make sure it gets recycled, make sure it gets recycled, make sure it gets recycled, make sure…
  4. Make origami cranes and bring them to a children’s hospital or give them to your partner.

There are lots of things you can do with your paper sign instead of just dropping it behind. Think of it and do better. Our planet needs it, we all need it. Thank you!

Sincerely,
Marina