I think I last left off with Greenpeace having ended my first day of training (last Monday). On Tuesday, we hit the streets and canvassed (canvass: verb To stand on a sidewalk and ask people to give a darn about the environment, and then get repeatedly rejected/insulted/scorned/assaulted/etc).

The deal with Greenpeace is that, in order to make staff, you have to get three sign-ups in three days. Which really isn't too hard, but it does put the pressure on you! On Tuesday my canvassing location was on the Magnificent Mile...the busiest and "richest" street in Chicago. It's lined with every high-end retail store you could think of and teems with fat tourists, boob-jobbed gold-diggers, and rich old women who look like Cruella de Ville. Because the Mag Mile is so crowded and INSANE, it's really hard to get a "stop" (aka having someone actually talk to you). Everybody in Chicago thinks they are the busiest, most important person in the world, and nowhere is that more true than on Mag Mile.

I did, however, run into some beginner's luck and got a sign-up within the first hour of working! It was this sweet older woman (probably late 50s, early 60s) who was from this really environmentally-conscious town in Maryland. She was super gung-ho on being eco-friendly and as soon as I pitched her Greenpeace's Kleenex campaign, she was in.

FYI, here is Greenpeace's Kleenex campaign (you should be aware of this!): Kimberly-Clark, the makers of Kleenex (who also make Scott, Viva, Cottonelle, Huggies, Depends), don't use ANY recycled material in their products. Despite being horrible for the environment, what makes this sadder is that these are one-time use paper products...tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, diapers. Every time you go through a box of tissues, you've just blown through 90 years worth of tree growth in these ancient forests. And not just any ancient forests, mind you, but North American boreal forests. Located mainly in Canada, the boreal forests supplies North America with 30% of its oxygen. It's home to five indigenous tribes and 50% of America's songbirds. 80% of our world's ancient forests are GONE, and Kimberly-Clark is clear-cutting the boreal (one of the remaining 20%) at the rate of a football field per MINUTE. Yes, per minute! KC tries to soften this by saying that they "only" clear-cut for 15% of their products, but when you think about how HUGE KC is, 15% = a freaking ton of trees!!!

The solution is simple: all we are asking is that KC uses at least 60% post-consumer recycled material in their products, and if they must use trees for the other 40%, use tree farms where the trees are actually regrown...not ancient, virgin North American forests!

Click on the following link to find out more about this campaign, learn which tissue products are more eco-friendly, and learn what else you can do to help out with this issue!

Anyway, that was my pitch! I felt good getting one sign-up, but really wanted to get second one that day to kind of buoy myself in case I had a rotten day without one. The hours went by. It was hot, and after seven hours of standing, my feet were getting really tired. It was 5:45. I just knew somebody was out there who cared! I knew it! With only 15 minutes left of my shift, I went full throttle and upped my energy level. All of a sudden, a middle-aged man literally jumped right in front of me:

"Hi! Whatcha doin?" He had a beaming smile and twinkly eyes.
"Um, I'm with Greenpeace! Have you heard of us?"
He laughed. "Uh, yeah. But what are you working on today?"

I proceeded to give my my KC pitch and, once again, this was a guy who needed no convincing. He was just like "Great! How do I sign up?" and signed up to give a $50 monthly donation! Yeah! The guy was slick. He was a producer from LA who was in town shooting a commercial, and he was just the nicest guy. Greenpeace is all about finding those people. Not rich people (although that helps! hehe). But people who care and are just looking for a way to help. They're out there! My first day of canvassing was a testament to that.

My second day of canvassing can be summed up like this: Instead of being on Mag Mile, I was in the north part of town (Lincoln Square...Clark and Diversey). No foot traffic, rain, gloom, Cubs lost, people angry, slow, only two sign-ups the ENTIRE day between my team of four people. Mine was not one of them. The end.
Third day: only one sign-up to go! I was on Mag Mile again. I got my sign-up pretty early in the day...I saw a young couple walking towards me (the girl had dred locks and they were both wearing Birkenstocks...YES!). Of course, this couple signed up no questions asked. They were awesome. The rest of the day didn't go as well, I didn't have any other sign ups. It was a weird day. I was on a "team" with a guy who is a CRAZY good canvasser (5-8 sign-ups a day!) and he only got one sign-up, too. So I know it wasn't just me.

So.....I made staff!! Yay!! I was proud of myself for doing it. Canvassing is something I never thought I could do. And although it's way harder than it looks (seriously!), it's something I feel I could get really good at with practice. Anyway, Friday was my first day of canvassing being an official staff member. Once again, this day did not go so hot. Between my team of three people, we only had three sign ups. It was kind of rainy (not as bad as Wednesday) and people were such jerks! Greenpeace had just come off its Mt. Rushmore stunt so we were getting some flack for that, which is understandable, but aside from that passers-by were being just plain rude and mean. I couldn't believe it. It got so bad to the point were, with 10 minutes left in my shift, I just sat down and cried. I cried because I was sick of being treated so poorly all day, but mostly because it just broke my hear that people didn't care. All day I had watched people rush past me with their Gucci shopping bags in their Christian Louboutin heels, saying things like "I don't care", "I don't have time", "I'm too busy." Too busy what? Spending money to feel the empty hole in your life? Too busy to smile at me? Or to at least have the courtesy to say "No, thanks" instead of "F--- trees?" It was just sad. I felt like I was standing inside a glass bubble, looking out on our consumer society, screaming and banging from inside the glass calling on people to care about the world they call home, or to at least take a minute to listen to an issue.

Now that I think of it, that must be how Heavenly Father feels sometimes. He's just up there in heaven, watching as we go about our busy lives, hoping that we take time to realize what's important. Obviously, He can't make us do or believe anything. So He just has to sit there and watch as we make our own choices, for better or worse. When we make good choices that would lead us back to Him, it's probably feels like getting a Greenpeace sign-up. Except like, a billion times better. But when His sons and daughters are caught up in pride, or are more concerned with wordly things rather than what's important, He must feel a lot like I did on Friday afternoon as I sat on the sidewalk at Grand and Wabash, head in my hands, crying because people couldn't even realize something good when it was literally standing right in front of them.

Anyway, my dear team leader for the day, Cielle, saw me having a hard time and offered some words of encouragement. With 10 minutes left to go, she helped me literally pick myself up off the street and....I got a sign-up :) You just can't give up hope! Even when you think all is lost, there's always hope! But it won't come to you if you don't have faith, if you don't try! What a great lesson for me to learn that day.

Thus ends my Greenpeace experience. No, really. I'm going to quit tomorrow. After all these great experiences, you may be asking why. What is boils down to is that I work 11-6, and Brock works 5:30-11. Despite the successes of this past week, it's really sucked not seeing my husband! We didn't come all this way, paying all this money, to not see each other in Chicago and not have time to do anything together. As much as I would like to keep working at Greenpeace, family comes first.

I have truly loved this past week, though. I've gotten to be friends with people who I never--not in a million years--would have ever befriended otherwise.

A Clintonian liberal/whale lover/comic-book obsessed/6-ft tall/curly, short-haired/chain-smoker? That's Sarah. She has a huge tattoo of Elizabeth Taylor on her back, the Lorax on her left shoulder, and Magneto (comic book character) on her right. And she's my friend.

A pro-Obama, activist who works 14-hour days in the name of saving the environment, and then rewards himself with copious amounts of alcohol on the weekends? That's Keeton. On Wednesday, a girl on crutches was hobbling past him, and he said "Hey, did you break you warming's ass?!" I laughed until my stomach hurt. And he's my friend.

A Portland-native who can't spell worth a lick ("orginization?"), uses the F-word like it's nobody's business and refers to everybody--male and female--as "buddy?" That's Tom. He drinks about seven cups of coffee per day and has a hearty, booming laugh. He laughs at lot at his own jokes, but somehow manages to make this not annoying. And he's my friend.

A girl who doesn't shave her armpits? Friend. Gay guy with a cyclops rabbit tattoo on his forearm? Friend. I've inhaled enough second-hand smoke to last a lifetime, and have seen more than my fair share of fearsome-looking body piercings. Obviously--coming from BYU---it's been like stepping on a different planet. But I'm so grateful for the experience I've had this week because these people opened my eyes to something I'd never been conscious of before: the environment. Not only that, but I've come to this awareness having been surrounded by some of the most passionate, dedicated people I've ever met. Each one of them rests their head easy on their pillow at night knowing they did something good for the world that day.

It's something I could get used to.


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