The world is ending. Fires are swallowing California faster than a freshman with New Amsterdam. Hurricanes are violently pissing on the country like a drunken fraternity pledge looking for his Clark Kerr bathroom. The arctic ice sheet is melting faster than the ice in your faux-compostable-plastic cup from Strada. Naturally, you want to care.

No. You do care. 

But alas, it’s really fucking hard to care with these “environmental kids.” Ellen (the one from down the hall who’s majoring in Conservation & Resource Studies) won’t shut up about rock climbing at Bridges Gym, Robert Reich being “Daddy,” CNR having “great advising,” and how “easy” it would be for everyone in the world to just go vegan. 

“It’s really disgusting that you’re okay with killing animals for food and contributing to the global meat industry,” you once heard her say to an innocent in the Clark Kerr dining hall. She spat on him as she plugged in her CPB-300 Cuisinart Blender and waved five pounds of dirt-smeared Whole Foods kale in his poor face. 

If this wasn’t enough, Ellen casually sports a $300 dollar North Face jacket on which she had “I Hate Jeff” commercially embroidered. You dread your daily routine of happening to shower at the same time, when she flexes her raging Birkenstock tan and forces you to listen exclusively to Bo Burnham’s Inside at max volume with her shitty DIY-speaker made of leftover bread from the dining hall. 

“I’d rather be caught dead than be seen on campus with single-use plastic,” Ellen said whilst showing you how well her Teva sandals work for climbing campus trees near the “insanely delicious” Brown’s Cafe. “That’s why as Sustainability Chair of my sorority – which constitutes the bulk of my extracurricular environmentalism – I make a change by telling my sisters to recycle. Not how to recycle, just to recycle.” 

Ellen, however, is but a drop in the ocean. Jake from your ESPM discussion noticed that you sometimes walk into class with plastic cups; now he makes it a point to violently slam down his REI Nalgene next to you every day. He once even followed you to the trash can, shaking his head and glaring even after you’d picked the correct one. Later that same day you saw him on Sproul with his consulting club, BCG, handing out paper flyers like Oprah giving away cars. When you asked him the next day if his BCG’s flyers were made from recycled paper, he fell to his knees crying and begged you not to out him to CALPIRG. 

Listen. Yes, these kids might be out here out eating soil and humping trees, and sometimes you just want to say “my eyes are up HERE” while they glare hatefully at your disposable COVID mask –– but the world is indeed ending, and you still have to care. How to be environmental despite the atrocious actions of these particular peers? Well holy shit, we don’t fucking know! Try uttering the phrase “environmental racism” and wait for them to spontaneously combust.

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