I know Terre Haute’s weather can be inconsistent, but spotting a banana tree last Tuesday between the Union and BSB Hall still made me do a double-take. Someone had gathered twenty or so golden bananas and ornamented the scraggly sapling for no apparent reason other than childish amusement. Though I scoffed at the waste, I held my tongue. After all, this is a campus full of stressed engineers needing a release from late winter quarter. The same afternoon, however, I spied more than a dozen pieces of fruit lapping against the shore of Scum Pond, and I had to say something.
This is ridiculous! No, not ridiculous as in funny and sadly not as in unbelievable. These antics are worthy of ridicule. Now, I hate to cry over spilled fruit. If I met the culprits, I would not set them straight with a stern talking-to. I once saw my own friend heave an orange into Speed Lake, and I only grimaced. When people squander food, I don’t wish for the courage to oppose their blatant disregard of starving children or the power to hold them responsible for their grave actions. I only want their respect so that I can effectively ridicule them.
As I hope all parents do, my mom and dad expected me to finish everything on my plate- no buts, no complaints. If Mom made it, you ate it. An upturned nose or a mound of uneaten peas was a quick ticket to bed with an empty stomach. Now, people may chuckle and say they were too stubborn for that to work. Maybe they were, but they must not have faced the same battle tactics that I did. When I resisted, my parents did not bark at me louder. They laughed at me instead. If I gave a hint of pickiness, my parents mocked my behavior rather than trying to squash it. More than the ethics of consumption or the threat of punishment, seeking their approval motivated me to value my food.
We can post on every campus door the results of six-sigma studies on Rose’s food waste. We can hold mandatory seminars on exorbitant food prices and impose martial law in the dining hall. We can even push a “We the People” petition to have President Obama step in to stop this madness. None of this would make a lick of a difference or a difference in licks because social behavior cannot be changed with reason or force. People will continue to waste food in a tree, pond, and the ARA tray return so long as we treat them as comedians or criminals instead of the morons that they are.

 

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