Let’s face it – the person who coined the term green and used it to equivocate consumer products and helping the environment is a damn genius. But it brings us back to a key point in this movement – the more I research, the more I’m realizing that green is less of a revolution and more of a giant marketing campaign. Perhaps I sound very cynical – but here’s my point. If companies like BP and DuPont can list themselves as “leaders of the green movement,” how can the movement hold any validity at all? These are companies who were founded on the premise of super capitalism, not super conservation. Nothing they have done in the decades they have been in business has even remotely helped the environment. Al Gore does one moving documentary and suddenly everyone’s green? I just don’t buy it.
This morning, on my quest to practice what I’ve been preaching, I changed a lot of lightbulbs in my home to CFLs. Yes I realize these aren’t THE answer to saving the environment, but they do produce 2000 times less greenhouse gases as regular light bulbs and are proven energy savers. I’ve got lamps in my house, I might as well NOT use a product that is extra wasteful, right?
I then examined the packaging these bulbs had come in. They were your typical, heavy-duty, plastic containers that are almost impossible to open and require scissors and hedge trimmers to even crack the surface. Huh. Those can’t be very eco-friendly. Even if I do tear apart the packaging, recycle the paper insert into my green bin and the plastic container from hell in the blue bin, how much was wasted in the production of this package?
Part of the problem with knowledge is that you find yourself examining things in a way you never thought you would and feeling frustrated at the layers you must dig through to find some actual truth. It’s similar to the way I felt the semester following my first film class in college. I stopped being able to watch movies with the sort of mindless abandon that I had previously enjoyed. I was analyzing each frame, each shot, the plot, the characters, the dialogue. It was exhausting.
Do we expect all consumers to think this deeply about their green choices? Or is the label “green” enough for some people to feel good about saving the planet? What do we do if the green revolution isn’t green at all?
Posted by: Ashley / ashleyatcaster