“Do you have five minutes for manipulation?”

Today, five students wearing Arizona Environmentalist t-shirts stopped me and asked, “Excuse me, do you have five minutes for the environment?”

I do, in fact, care about the environment and over consumption, but I refuse to support any group that coats their questions with manipulation and guilt. If I were to say, “Sorry,” I sound spoiled and uninformed simply because I don’t agree with this manipulative tactic. It would be more polite and effective of an environmentalist to instead say, “Can I talk to you about the environment, please?”

As I walked past the Student Union Memorial Center with a friend, some guy with a clipboard approached us.

“Do you girls have a minute for the environment?”

“Sorry, we’re late for class,” I said truthfully.

“Seriously? That’s really bad.”

Do the Arizona Environmentalists expect students to respond positively to coercion and disrespect? I know it sucks to approach apathetic students on the mall. I’ve tabled for the College Republicans, but I’ve never scolded someone for declining my flyer.

Moreover, environmentalists have to realize that they can’t guilt trip others into caring about something. As my sagacious mother always says, “You can’t change people. You can only change the way you react to them.” Environmentalists can make up for the uninvolved by effectively seeking out those who actually want to save the world.


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