A group of girls with wavy hair, artisan earrings and patterned shirts pull three meters of green paper off a spool in the Union. A few are eating local Big Oak Beef Burgers while the rest feed off raw vegetables that they imagine were picked off a bean stock on a Cornelius farm. They share stories of friends’ gluttony and turn their nose to high fructose corn syrup. Their painted message to the masses slowly develops beneath their borrowed brushes. It pays homage to the environment, fair trade, and/or personal acceptance.
The rest of the quote eludes them, so one opens her Mac Book and searches through the depths of her Gmail account. Her Burt’s Bees moisturized lips slip into a grin when the sparkles of the nail polish she purchased last weekend at Urban Outfitters caught her eye. Consistent with her positive and hopeful nature, she recites the last couple words of the banner. Something to do with “local,” “outdoors,” “organic,” or “community.” She then takes a quick peek at her facebook to see if anyone commented on her professional-grade photos from abroad/hiking/the weekend and ends up clicking on the photos from that “girl in your math class junior year” who had a baby while you were holding your purse to your body on a bus in a Third World country and secretly missing your Blackberry.
This scene is not uncommon. I, myself, cannot say I am innocent. The men and women who want to change the world, who take the steps and share the messages of the disadvantaged are (relatively) still part of those lucky few who could afford the Nike sneakers produced in South Korea. Unconsciously, they defy most of what they stand for. To spread their ideals, they utilize blogs and twitter with their 4G phones and depend on the research and stories from all over the globe. And while it is odd that they cannot completely fulfill their ideas while “existing” on facebook – they are at least standing for something. Devout nature lovers are denied the pleasures of social media, constant news and the ability to spread what they think it is important. They have no chance to collect friends from all over the world to send angry letters to Apple about wage labors working too many hours. So the hypocrisy may be there, but it ishelpful in keeping the rest of us grounded.