The Girl Who Wanted to Save the World

Her name was Lisa, she was from Berlin, and she wanted to save the world. She insisted that swimming naked in the sea was a basic human right, and she believed that the best strategy for playing chess was to have no strategy at all. “Everything is about energy and intuition,” she said while looking at me with her always serious face. She had long braids, gray cat eyes and freckles, but despite all that she never seemed playful. Life was nothing she took lightly. How can you, if you are carrying the burden of having to save the world? Even in the middle of a jungle beach paradise in Colombia where any other 23 year old would have snorkeled with the fish or danced in the moonlight, Lisa gave lectures on CO2 emissions instead. “Do you know your carbon footprint?” she asked me. “Most people don’t have the slightest idea how much damage they cause by taking airplanes,” she continued before I could even answer. She had this friend who flew from Munich to Berlin once a week, just because it was faster than driving. Her cat eyes full of with disdain for such an irrational choice, her braids whipping back and forth in disbelief. Anybody who put their personal needs before the great cause of saving the world from the devastating, all-destroying environmental disaster that was inevitably awaiting us, was irrational for Lisa. She had once been careless, too. That was before she went to Africa and learned how we were destroying our planet by flying around in planes. Africa changed her. Now she had become a world saver. “Do you know that for taking one air plane, you could take 30 buses instead and still do less harm to the environment?” She believed that if she could convince only one single person per day to change their lifestyle, sooner or later the whole world would stop using planes and become a better place. Thomas didn’t believe her. He was from Hamburg and he also wanted to save the world. He never used plastic bags and ate no meat or fish. He told anybody who wanted to listen that eating a hamburger is even worse for the climate than flying around in a private jet. But unlike firm Lisa, he had one big weakness. Thomas had fallen in love. “It makes you weak and irrational,” said Lisa. Every part of her body, even her freckles, demonstrated how little she thought of this feeling. “Now, instead of watching your carbon footprint, you are just going to get on a plane to Brazil. That’s insane!” Thomas smiled. He looked as if he had just gotten a huge compliment. Lisa was steaming now. Her freckles were glowing: “There is absolutely no reason for people to take a plane to travel to places where they can’t get by land. It’s alright if you HAVE to take one plane and there is nothing you can do about it, but just flying on vacation to Jamaica to see the country? I would never do that!” “You never want to see Jamaica?”, I asked. “No! It would completely mess up my carbon footprint, it would be an environmental sin. There is really no reason for me to go to Jamaica.” Thomas’ smile grew bigger: “And what happens if you meet a Jamaican in Berlin and fall in love with him?” Lisa rolled her eyes. That would a) never happen or if it did, she would b) end the relationship.

I can’t help but imagine how maybe 15 years from now, freckled Lisa will be watching the sunset on a beach in Jamaica, the orange sun reflected in her cat eyes, her face covered in a soft smile.


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