As an English major, I'm constantly surrounded by books. They're the subject of my classes, the reason I have no room on my desk, and they contribute to the sizable dent in my pocketbook every semester. Yet I wouldn't trade them for a lab coat and goggles (or a more weighty paycheck, come graduation) any day of the week. To me, books are the foundation of my own opinions. They help me to understand the world around me through someone else's interpretation. In this way, they challenge what we already believe to be true.
When I was younger (somewhere around 13) I discovered Meg Cabot's "The Princess Diaries" series. Her main character, whom some of you may know from the Disney-produced movie or a run-in with the books yourself, is Mia Thermopolis, a vegetarian, eco-conscious New York high school "geek" who is just trying to get by (and cope with the revelation of her own royalty). When I first discovered these books, I was instantly stricken by Mia's green ways. She was geek-chic and a little clumsy — a lot like me. So naturally, I wanted to be just like her. In an attempt to get my old friends, books, back up on the environmental playing field, here are a few of my favorite Mia Thermopolis "green quotes."
"Stupid Rockefeller Center tree. They asked me to be the person who throws the switch to light it this year, as I am considered 'New York's own Royal' in the press, but when I told them how cutting down trees contributes to the destruction of the ozone layer, they rescinded their invitation and had the mayor do it instead." — "Princess in Love," 24.
"If she thinks she can put the health of my future baby sister at risk by eating alfalfa sprouts in her sandwiches and drinking coffee and stuff, she is in for a big surprise." — "Princess in the Spotlight," 18.
"Later she tried to make me bacon and eggs in order to build up my strength, but there I drew the line: Just because I'm on my deathbed does not mean it's okay to abandon all my vegetarian principles." — "Princess in the Spotlight," 43.
"You shouldn't be throwing trash overboard anyways. I cannot stand idly by while helpless sea creatures are being abused by trendy Bain de Soleil-addicts in search of that perfect St. Tropez tan." — "Princess in Waiting," 5.
"Not that I even care what Mr. Gianini's niece Claire thinks of me. I mean, she is wearing a pony skin miniskirt. And it is not even imitation pony skin. She must know that a horse had to die just so she could have that skirt, but she obviously doesn't care." — "Princess in Love," 5.
"Stupid lousy New York weather. No snow, just cold, wet rain, every single day. Whatever happened to a white Christmas? I'll tell you: Global warming. You know why? Because everyone keeps driving SUVs and cutting down trees!" — "Princess in Love," 25.
Although the book is not entirely centered around eco-conscious themes, Meg Cabot does a great job of inserting that part of Mia's personality to characterize the book in a witty, socially-conscious way. What better role model for a young girl than someone who is actually aware of world events? Mia's environmental dedication is funny and clever, even if it is a tad over-dramatic.
What's your favorite eco-conscious book? Do you have one? If not, go out and try to find one!