Curveball: What I Really Stand ForThursday, October 02, 2008 By Pablo Baeza
Over the course of a mere ten weeks, I got to learn bizarre, cult-like hand signals for communication, take part in a blood sport known only as “lap tag,” eat excessive amounts of organic, even vegan food, travel to such exotic locales as scenic Prince William County, Virginia- and a leadership conference in Minneapolis, though that journey was tempered by waiting for a connecting flight in one of America’s grimmest airports, Philadelphia “City of Brotherly Hate” International. In case you’re wondering how these life-changing events have affected me and you haven’t deduced it from the reference to vegan food, the strange odor I emit on weekends, and a hairstyle that makes me look uncannily like either Jesus Christ or the Geico caveman, depending on who you ask… No, I have neither pursued homelessness nor a lifelong dream of joining a party of traveling thespian gypsies. In a mere two and a half months I have chosen to pursue a still-nobler dream: I’ve become an environmental activist. So what does being an environmental activist entail? Contrary to popular belief, we do not bomb KFCs on weekends, or at least most of us don’t. We may use amazingly nerdy phrases like “grid neutrality,” “geothermal technology,” and “sustainable energy future.” But at least to me, all being an environmental activist really entails is being able to really do something about what I perceive to be unjust. For instance, I can’t vote, despite the fact I recently turned 18. I’m a permanent resident, so even though it’s taxation without representation for me, at least I have an excuse to be even more preachy about climate change because if I’m unable to vote, I can at least take comfort in knowing that if I annoy you senior voters hard enough, you’ll be able to set a good example for your peers and eventually raise the completely pathetic level of voter participation in this wonderful ever-so-representative democracy. There’s a lot at stake this election, especially when it comes to the way we power our buildings and fuel our cars. If we don’t do something about gas prices rising, how are we going to be able to afford good, clean, alcohol-and-sexual-misconduct-free fun at Beach Week when the car runs out of fuel and you’re stranded in a small town where the only landmark is O’Flaherty’s Seafood Buffet? If we don’t do something about dirty energy sources harming our communities, what will we do about the tons of people that will continue to face unsuitable, unhealthy living conditions? Think of poor Johnny, unable to run the Burrito Mile because his lungs have been affected by all that pollution. Hear him hacking and coughing and sighing in his choirboy voice? But maybe I’m moralizing a little too much. There’s a lot to be done before change really starts happening, and all I was really trying to say was that you don’t have to want to save the polar bears to make change.