Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Earth Week Rant

It took me a while to figure out why the little "Versus" logo in the bottom right of my screen while watching the NHL Playoffs is green. I thought there was something wrong with my TV, perhaps, and it's not displaying red correctly, which is the normal color of the logo.

Then I realized -- it's Earth Week. Or something. It's at least the week that contains Earth Day. Why that makes it Earth Week I'm not sure, but bear with me.

Here's where the rant starts. There's a huge difference between genuine environmentalism, a true desire and interest to do whatever one can to care for our natural environment, and lengthen our tenure on our fragile world,  and jumping on a marketing bandwagon.

Now that I think about it, I HATE the "Green" movement. It's the equivalent of saying that consumers can make the same bad choices for the future of our planet that we've been making since the industrial revolution, only now we have the moral sanction to continue doing so.

O wow, this (fill in the blank) is made from sustainable materials! I should probably consume even more of it, because hell, it's not like it's BAD for the earth. Sure, I won't exactly recycle it and continue the cycle of sustainability, but the fact that I'm choosing it (and PAYING MORE to do so...I'm so morally superior than the people who choose the non-sustainable option) should make all the difference, right?

The "Green" marketing movement is the worst thing ever to happen to environmentalism. It's domesticated it. What happened to tree huggers? You're telling me they work at Walmart now? I'm not buying it (literally and figuratively). Yes, I love my solar lights. I rock them whenever I can. But I'm smart enough to know that if I was a true environmentalist, I would change substantial aspects of my lifestyle.

I hate to be a naysayer (do I?) but all the little things we think we're doing to save the environment are just drops in the proverbial ocean that will one day cover Manhattan when the ice caps melt. I'm not trying to point fingers. I'm as guilty as anyone else. But at least I know when I'm being manipulated by companies that only care about the value of their stock, and certainly not the environment (unless wetland protected animals are inconveniently squatting on some natural resources they desperately need). American Capitalism is not a "long-term" thing, friends. It's about profitability and valuation now.

Should we as consumers make the best choices we can for the environment? Of course. But we have to know that we have to think beyond the "green" marketing campaigns if we're really going to make a difference.

Going to shut down my computer now to save energy, but I would love to hear your comments.

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