Confession of a green man

Cyrus Bahrassa

I have to admit it—I am an environmentalist. Any day now, I expect my blood to turn green. I’m not insane, but I am crazy. I’m crazy about organic foods and solar panels. I’m crazy about farmers’ markets and reusable canvas bags.

But why? Why do I bother switching off the lights in an empty room or buying local produce? Because in reality, I’m not crazy. I am not radical; I am not ignorant. I am not a victim of some global warming hoax that liberals have cooked up to help spread the wealth. What I am is passionate—passionate about making a difference.

I am passionate about environmental issues, though not because I am any smarter or more righteous than anyone else. Frankly, it takes neither brains nor morals to be an environmentalist—it merely takes a little thought. I am passionate about environmental issues because I believe in doing what makes sense. It doesn’t make sense to use sewer sludge on food that people will eat or to breed turkeys so large that they need artificial insemination to procreate. It doesn’t make sense to throw away a bottle you can reuse. It doesn’t make sense to rely on outdated, polluting energy sources that are entirely nonrenewable. You can burn fossil fuels and sequester all the carbon dioxide in the ground, but you’ll never overcome the fact that coal and oil supplies are limited.

What does make sense is promoting cleaner, renewable energy so that there are no worries of limited supplies and major oil spills. What does make sense is farming as sustainably as possible, so that land’s resources are not exhausted. What does make sense is eliminating waste, because we can’t afford to waste anything more—time, energy or natural resources. I admit that I’m an idealist; I’m wishing for a lot in a short period of time. But athletes constantly crave a perfect game; engineers dream of a perfect machine. And better yet, they take action to achieve their goals. Likewise, I refuse to sit back, passively avoiding problems, when time is better spent striving for real solutions.

As an environmentalist, I am not a member of a deranged cult or religion; I am a part of a movement of concerned individuals trying to make the world a better place. If you’ve had a chance to stroll through campus in the last three weeks, you’ll know that Wash. U. is a beautiful place. Despite the Great Flood of October, the grass is lush and green, the trees are golden and red. We live at a beautiful school, in a beautiful country, on a beautiful planet, and I’m eager to do what I can to preserve all of it. Maybe one day I’ll be proven wrong, but for now I know what is right. I have to admit it—I care.

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