Friday, June 01, 2007

Geurrilla Environmentalism

Like gophers with an eco-conscience* and a checkbook, Environmentalists surface from the ground in springtime to solicit your wages from you. Though that is of course not a perfect analogy, not even close, because I know very little about the consciences or hibernation habits of gophers, it is my rendering of the number of environmental groups that approach me on a daily basis now that the weather is above freezing. Other than our good old standby, Greenpeace, there is a new sort of guerrilla environmentalist group native to Boston that disguises themselves in blue t-shirts and call themselves "Environment Massachusetts." Like Greenpeace, it is their job to harass you into submission on the nicest days of the year. I usually don't stop and listen to these people because I'm suckered way too easily into pretty much anything, but I felt kind of bad for responding "No thanks, Greenpeace" once I realized that they were not actually Greenpeace. I stopped long enough to share my relief. "Oh! Thank God! I thought you were going to talk to me about global warming, haha!" I then listened to two blue-eyed, eager seventeen year-old boys (who had clearly given their speeches a good practice run in front of their moms) address the threats of global warming.

Although their presence being predominantly in the spring and summer seems to be fairly suspect (Hell, I would do it if it meant I got to walk around on only the nicest days and harass people all day), I would like to offer some advice to help further their moderate successes. If we've learned anything from marketing, kids, it should be that the best way to reach your audience is to make them empathetic to your message. I don't want to see you in light blue t-shirts and khaki shorts getting a nice little base tan while you hand out fliers to passerbys. I want to see you out there in long underwear, flannel pants and a wool sweater, nursing a wicked burn and sweating off all of your college weight on the hottest documented day in history. Just then, I might throw out all my bottles of hairspray right then and there.

*I coined this phrase to get out of using "environmental" twice in one sentence

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