Shades of Green: Ecological egotism

In Columns, Opinion

I love when overzealous hippies bestow useless information onto people who are “less aware” about health and environmentalism, boasting terms such as “agave nectar,” “high fructose corn syrup” and “biodegradable,” as if knowing the meaning of these terms ensures their intellectual devotion to the earth.

Considering the green movement is the hip thing in California, environmental elitism surrounds us every day. Or, at least it surrounded me, since I lived with a roommate who was very much like this (see Shades of Green: Vegan Arrogance).

Unfortunately, I thought I got rid of the problem long ago when I kicked her out of my apartment. (OK, maybe I didn’t kick her out per se, but I did kindly ask her to reconsider her residential options).

Turns out I get to endure hippie banter every night once again, but this time from a customer at my work who never buys anything – she just stands around and talks and talks and talks.

“You know, I would totally buy these dried cherries but they, like, have sulfur dioxide in them, so I probably shouldn’t. Did you know that sulfur dioxide is poisonous and that it’s in almost ALL dried fruit? Can I have a bagel? Can you toast it? Is that a microwave? DON’T PUT MY BAGEL IN THERE! I don’t want radiation going through my food! It’s so cold in here! Why is it so cold? What IS that? FREON?”

I gave her a look that said something along the lines of, “What the hell is freon and why are you still standing in front of my register?”

She then excused my confusion with a wave of her ring-adorned hand, “Oh, it’s okay, you’re just tired.”

I love that. I also love that her hair is very blatantly highlighted, which makes me wonder if there is such a thing as all-natural hair bleach.

I realize this column itself is basically a bunch of hippie banter, considering the warnings against carnivorous dog food and criticisms of lazy anti-green lifestyles, but there is a notable difference between this and Freon Woman: I’m not searching to belittle people for not having knowledge that they could care less about.

For instance, let’s just say a person is interested in knowing about the green movement, whether to make fun of it or to enhance his or her knowledge about it. This person is flipping through the Daily Titan, or searching the Internet, and comes across a column titled, “Shades of Green.” Lo and behold! This is everything he/she’s been looking for! Now he/she is free to read at his/her leisure.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being enthusiastic about your recently obtained knowledge of agave nectar or freon or what have you. All I’m saying is, you don’t see a calculus enthusiast going up to every person they meet exclaiming, “Did you know that the quotient of continuous functions is continuous at all points X where the denominator is not ZERO?”

And why don’t mathematicians do this? Because they realize that this information is completely useless to me unless I give a damn about math. Which I don’t. Which is why I am writing for the school newspaper.

If you want to go around preaching against inescapable chemicals floating through our air or about the mutilation of rain forests and endangered species to unsympathetic bystanders, by all means, go ahead. But you’re only making environmentalism look bad.

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