Crying to his mother after school, Henry Marr, a 6-year-old living in Mount Vernon, uttered, “The planet is gonna be wrecked. People are just being rude to it,” after a day in his kindergarten classroom. Marr is the son of two Western Washington University alums, Allie Hill and Garrison Marr.
After Henry’s teacher played a video on what Henry said he thinks was Earth Day, he got in the car and broke down in front of his mother. Hill caught the breakdown on video and shared it to Facebook in May 2016. Within hours, it had gone viral. Now four months after the video was originally posted, it has more than 18 million views and has been shared over 27 thousand times – including one share from Leonardo DiCaprio.
“I saw people throwing trash on the ground, animals eating the trash, trash in the water, polluting like everything,” Marr said when asked about the video shown in class. “After that video that I watched at school on Earth Day, I felt very sad when I was watching the video, but after I watched the video I felt mad!”
In the clip that Henry’s mother shared on Facebook, he exclaims, “I’m just gonna yell at them. Actually no, I’m not gonna yell at them. I have a better idea… yell in their ear!”
After seeing the harm that littering can do to the earth and its inhabitants, Henry began to feel passionate about cleaning up and doing his part. Henry loves going to the beach and to Little Mountain Park in Mount Vernon, where he searches for litter to take home and dispose of or recycle.
“My favorite thing to help the planet is pick up trash,” Marr said. Since his video has gone viral on Facebook, companies have reached out to him in hopes of teaming up to make the world a better place.
Henry and his parents worked with Lennon and Wolfe, a clothing company specializing in stylish attire for children, to support Little Mountain Park. For a limited time, Lennon and Wolfe donated 40 percent of their proceeds to the Mount Vernon Parks Foundation and Tree People, according to Henry’s Facebook page. Henry has also been sent mail from fans and other eco-friendly brands such as StopLittering.com.
Over the summer, Nissan donated a Nissan Leaf to Henry and his family. The vehicle is covered in Henry’s drawings. Henry has written and illustrated his own books about keeping the earth and animals healthy. The family gets to drive the car around town for a few months in hopes of spreading Henry’s message even further.
When asked if he wanted to go to Western when he was older, Henry responded with, “I don’t really know where that is.” Both of Henry’s parents graduated from Western and “his student teacher… goes to Woodring,” said his mother, Allie Hill.
Henry may not have an idea of whether or not he wants to go to Western when he’s older, but when asked what he wants to do when he grows up, he replied, “So much. So much!”
“I have a lot of jobs that I’m gonna do when I grow up,” Marr said. “I wanna be a scientist and a ‘marineologist.’”
Since Henry’s initial video gained popularity and support, his family made a Facebook page called “Henry the Emotional Environmentalist.” The page features videos of Henry urging people to recycle, pick up trash and care for animals.
Henry has also created a challenge for all of his fans to do what he calls “chuck the yuck.”
“My challenge is pick up like a Ziplock bag of trash, or it could be a handful of trash… Or maybe it could be enough trash to fill up two pairs of underwear,” he said.
After cleaning up, Henry encourages his fans to share photos of themselves with the trash that they’ve collected and to tag the photo with the #ChuckTheYuck.
Henry knows that he has many fans out there, he just isn’t exactly sure quite how many. “Pretty much like 300 of them, or maybe like 3,000,” he said. “Maybe it could be like 3 million people!”
Henry’s Facebook page currently has a little more than 27,000 likes.
No matter how many people are helping him in his efforts, he knows that he is making a difference, he said.
“I’ve heard people say they have a recycling box or recycling can and I’ve heard them say that they’ve picked up lots of trash,” Marr said.
Soon to be first grader, Henry Marr has restored faith in many supporters around the world. His Facebook page features comments of adoration and encouragement from people in Italy, Mexico and many other countries. This Georgia-born Washington resident has made his mark on the world and has no plans of stopping.