The journal “Psychological Science” published an article last year linking being green to being mean. The authors argue that wearing a “halo of green consumerism” makes one more likely to treat others with unkindness as well as to cheat and steal.
Since I believe everything I read, it wasn’t with a bounce in my step that I approached the Sustainability Fair today. The last thing I wanted was to be accosted by a Chancellor Green full of people telling me I wasn’t sustainable and trying to steal my umbrella. But I really wanted to win a trash sculpture, so I donned my camo and went.
Petrified that I would be recognized as the rogue green bean I am, I did my best to blend in. Neon green socks peeked out from my sneakers. I also wore a forest green jacket, green face paint, and even green underwear made of recycled plastic just in case there was a search for unsustainable apparel.
I passed the first checkpoint, the Sustainable Kettle Corn station. I nodded to the men behind the table, and thought I was safe to pass until one called out for me to halt. My heart racing, I stopped in my tracks. I knew I should just proceed without looking back. But I stopped. As I turned around, I prepared not for surrender, but to fight. I was close to ripping off my green jacket and hopping into ninja stance when the man turned out to merely be offering me a map to the sustainable scavenger hunt. He was actually pretty nice and allowed me to take his picture by the kettle corn with my cell phone camera. My cover wasn’t yet blown.
Inside, there were fabulous trash sculptures every way I turned. I was offered sustainable food and drink in exchange for signing up to receive e-mails from countless sustainable groups on campus. That California roll was definitely worth the ten e-mails I have already received from the Cauliflower Amnesty Association.
After making my way through each station, I felt myself transforming. I was no longer green just in attire, but in body and soul. After seeing the atrocities committed upon our environment at many of the booths, my heart began crying shards of plastic. These people weren’t mean, they were my friends!
But my transformation ground to a halt when I was offered a “sustainable” chicken appetizer. I became enraged with this man extending to me chicken in a plastic cup and asked him whether, if Jon Edward could bring back that chicken to talk to us, the chicken would say he had been treated sustainably. My face became less and less green and more and more red and soon I was yelling and crying and bach-bach-baching like a chicken. Screw the environment, save the chickens! That chicken in the cup wanted to be alive, not featured in a cup of goop at a sustainability fair!
That’s when security came and hauled me out of Chancellor Green and into the cold, dark night. I threw my bottle of Dasani into the trashcan in a last act of sustainable defiance and then went back to my room to clip my fingernails.