Dawn Maxey’s Eco-Backlash Poetry Is Totally Refreshing


As a wonderful pre-lunch appetizer, Dawn Maxey, a spoken word artist, gave the crowd at Compostmodern an earful (in a good way). Her poem about the women who pile their carts full of organic goods at Whole Foods, sport the “this is not a plastic bag” bags–and by the way, they have seven Priuses, did they tell you?–because it’s trendy, was a highlight of the morning. Maxey gave us the full text of the poem, which we’ve included below, but we enjoyed this line in particular:

See, it’s gone from a Pri-us to a Pri-ME.
it’s all about how cool I can be

Check out more of Maxey’s work at her homepage, the Stanford Spoken Word Collective and YouthSpeaks.

Snobs and Queen Bees. I thought these junior high icons had faded like the Tamagatchi.

But then
I began to notice people at Whole Foods with entire shopping carts full of ‘organic’ and ‘go green’ items. These people are the same ones that say “did I bump into you? I’m sorry. I just didn’t expect this ENVIRONMENTALLY SAFE dishwashing soap to be so heavy.”
I want to pour environmentally safe salt in their eyes.

I don’t know who these people are
but they’re growing out of control.
pressuring well meaning citizens into buying
more, more, more,
all to pollute less, less, .. less?

being green is the new cool
and even Kermit can’t keep up
suddenly I feel pressured to buy solar powered nose hair trimmers and
I don’t even have that problem.

In fact, I imagine a day when things get so bad you’ll live in a glass house so that everyone can see you wake up in the morning, get out of your organic soy bean bed and pull on a pair of diesel’s global warming ready jeans. You’ll open a box of tony the tiger’s non hydrogenated hypoallergenic free trade grain flakes, and drive your not-tested-on-animals bicycle to work. then you’ll help Nike ‘save’ the rainforest by branding large red swooshes on all the lemurs or maybe organize a photo shoot for Abercrombie’s new cotton free cotton underwear.

Hipsters have taken this way. too. far.

Especially with the Prius.
See, it’s gone from a Pri-us to a Pri-ME.
it’s all about how cool I can be
In fact, I’ll buy seven
so I can drive a different one each day
it’s all about ME
pri-us to a
pre-me to a
a premium.
another excess “thing” in our lives that piles up and nobody ever looks at again.

Green is chic now, but when the stock market of trends crashes
no one will want to be caught dead with biodegradable polos, environmentally safe dirt, or origami made from corn husks.

the earth will be just as trashed as Lindsay Lohan in a Bacardi factory
and people will care
even less

So how do you fix the problem?
Make being green
show people that it’s not hip or trendy or fun to be green
it’s an obligation


it’s logic we should have learned by the fourth grade

having three hybrids does not equal less pollution
George Clooney is not the world’s expert on recycling
buying organic blueberries from Chile uses up a lot of frickin gas

there is no such thing as free range carrot sticks
don’t give in to the power of trends.

but hey, hip is neat too
live earth was amazing
the truth was inconvenient
and by all means,
captain planet was a really cool guy

but when you combine campaigns and corporations
with a heavy dose of
good brains and obligations
the change will last so long
the energizer bunny will cry himself to sleep

Green is not hip, or trendy, or fun.
It’s an obligation.