Published in


The new environmentalists taking America by storm

Share a Square and Make the World a Better Place

The Eternal Beauty of Half-Life Toilet Paper

Barbwire and oil on canvas by George Mullen at

Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic there has been at least one significant silver lining — the rapid rise of the environmentally-minded ‘Brown Movement’. At the current rate of growth, Brown will be the new Green in a fortnight.

And to think it all started in a backstreet bar in Nicaragua.

This movement was founded by the circumspect and bespectacled Roberto Cafe. Cafe ventured to Nicaragua in late 2020 on a bird-watching expedition as a temporary reprieve from the Zoom-driven hellways of San Francisco. During his trip, Cafe took a day away from the tree-tops to roam the streets of Managua and experience daily life. He shopped and talked with local vendors and even enjoyed tasty street nacatamales, though he questioned what the delicious meat inside actually was.

An hour later, Cafe was stricken by a severe case of Ortega’s Revenge. He rushed up and down the streets in desperate search of a toilet. Due to widespread dysfunctional city plumbing, though, this task was easier said than done. Nearly at his wits’ end, he stumbled into Pedro’s Hole (a name more prescient than he could have imagined) and gave all his cordobas to the bartender in exchange for use of his baño. As he rushed into the dark and noxious dungeon, there was no time to look or clean, he just sat. And just in time he was.

As Cafe finished his business, he was horrified to find no toilet paper, no paper towels, and nothing in his pockets, not even paper money he could use. As he sat in sweaty panic, sinister laughter and music echoed from inside the cantina. He noticed a small bin sitting in the corner with flies hovering above and ants marching to and fro. As Cafe slowly peered into it, he nearly hurled from the stench that smacked him square. Evidently toilets in Managua can’t handle paper, thus it goes in the bin instead. Cafe held his breath, dug deep, found the least offensive brown smeared square, turned it over, and re-used it.

Little did Cafe know this would be the beginning of a major new environmental movement that is now sweeping America.

Later that afternoon, he related his story to fellow bird watchers James Diablo and Briana Wiz. They saw the promise and began calling it “half-life toilet paper”. Their message was simple, yet profound — ‘Share a Square and Make the World a Better Place’.

As the trio calculated the potential impact, they knew they were on to something big for our planet. If eight billion people started sharing squares, toilet paper consumption would drop by half immediately; sewage treatment plants would save at least 25% in capacity and their energy usage would drop by 37%; carbon emissions and global warming would be significantly reduced; oceans would be free of 50% of the current bloated toilet refuse floating about; fish and bird life would be far healthier; entire forests would be saved with less toilet paper needs; and so on.

Bottom line, over a 30 year period the United States would save $36 trillion in direct financial costs and averted environmental damages. The global community savings would be at least $142 trillion over the same time period. And Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates are likely to come in even higher.

As Cafe says in hindsight, “It wasn’t an easy task in Managua, and frankly, I wouldn’t have had the courage if conditions didn’t demand it. But afterwards I felt good about my contribution to humanity.” Imagine the impact if our citizens go even further and embrace “quarter-life” paper instead of just “half-life”?

We have no time to lose, America. We need immediate legislation to mandate the sharing of squares. This is the kind of selfless progress America is all about. As such, we are prepared to deliver one metric ton of half-life toilet paper to U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry and New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC). This will enable them to initiate a trial run at the White House and in the halls of Congress. We need bold leaders willing to lead by example.

Barbwire and oil on canvas by George Mullen at

Charmin and Cottonelle aren’t taking this sitting down though — they have already dispatched their powerful K Street lobbyists to fight this effort tooth and nail. In response, President Biden needs to step up with his $3 trillion ‘Build Back Better’ plan and direct $5 billion of it to prepare the Brown Movement for battle. Our planet’s future depends upon us winning this.

With respect to the meteoric rise of this movement, noted environmentalist Spellman Poe said this, “The Browns may be the most consequential environmental step forward since the discovery of the melting polar ice cap and the writings of Henry David Thoreau. The potential here is simply breathtaking.

Brown is the new Green. Thank you Roberto Cafe.

George Mullen is a writer and artist. He is a principal of StudioRevolution in San Diego, California. The reader will decide whether this piece is tongue-in-cheek or a powerful movement in the offing.




Bootleg Humor Since 1720

Recommended from Medium

“We have no choice but to keep going.”

Why Circulating Fossilized Fuel Bed technology is the future of Coal fired Power Production for…

The stories we shared at the Geo for Good Summit 2019

Ok so this renewable energy idea is simple.

Resilience in the Face of the Brain Drain– How can water utilities navigate today’s generational…

The Weird and Wonderful World of Asbestos Testing

Miami Residents Win First Round In Court Over Walmart Development On Endangered Pine Rocklands

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
George Mullen

George Mullen

More from Medium

Omicron Closes the Classroom

Tidbits 1

Finally, I’ve Published On Medium

10 Good Things About The Good Old Days And 10 Not So Good