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Going Green at UM: A Narrative

by Amer Goel

It was a cold, brisk, dark, gloomy, dark, brisk, cold night. Time for dinner, perhaps. A hungry (and handsome) dark young man walks into the Mosher Jordan dining hall. His name is Amer (rhymes with summer). Although he is handsome and charismatic and a phenomenal writer, even he can’t photosynthesize, so he depends on the University of Michigan to nourish him. To the first station he ventures. Tofu. Again. The 1 μg of tofu looks massive on that even smaller plate. Not ideal. That’s ok, there’s always station 2. Goulash. Could use a little more lash and a little less Gou. Onto the next station. Beef and blended mushroom burgers. Mortal enemies blended together into an emulsion of hatred and spite. Our handsome, charismatic, intelligent protagonist sighs in contempt, settling for the 0.0000001g of Tofu he finds at station 1. That’s ok - it’s for posterity. He takes a salivating, lewd, loathing look at the crudely folded pamphlet on the table. He sees that The University of Michigan’s Planet BlueTM initiative has reduced meat consumption and portion sizes for a much grander cause: the environment. With less consumption of greenhouse-gas-emitting animals and less food to greenhouse-gas-emit, the University of Michigan has taken its carbon footprint into its maize and blue hands. Now enlightened with this epiphany, our newly knighted eco-warrior holds his head high, proudly drinking his tofu and noodles as they disintegrate into his esophagus, and he tastes the carbon dioxide receding into the vile factories from which it was born, in the name of our savior Planet BlueTM. Every crunch deletes some methane from the atmosphere, repairs the ozone layer, and plants a tree. He’s a hero in every sense. He can see the light at the end of the tunnel: the ever-coveted goal of Carbon Neutrality. He weeps in awe, inspired by the University of Michigan’s Planet BlueTM initiative. Now full of pride, he saunters away to throw away his plastic fork, spoon, knife, straw, bowl, and plate into the compost bins that are marked as recycling, and he stumbles out into the world, breathing the fresh air that HE (and the University of Michigan’s Planet BlueTM initiative) created. He takes a long, lustful look at the University of Michigan’s 40 ft. fossil-fuel-burning smokestack, the hundreds of cars on the streets, and the lack of hydro, solar, or wind energy usage throughout Ann Arbor. Very Planet BlueTM of them. He knows - this is the way to make a difference.

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