Friday, April 18, 2008

Going Green or Brown?

In the heat of political turmoil of the 1960’s and 1970’s, the environmental movement began.

Back then, hippies smoked grass while wandering barefoot on grass, to protest everything under the guise of protecting Gaia – aka Mother Earth.

In the heyday of the 1980’s economic boom, companies began to realize they too can turn a profit by jumping on the environmental band wagon. Everything old was new again, as it was suddenly labelled “environmentally-friendly” or “eco-friendly” or simply “green.”

These days, you have to be careful what you shop for, because most things sold as being “green” are really “brown” as in the color of bullshit.

Clever advertising has always targeted our most heartfelt feelings. From the warm and fuzzy “reach out and touch someone” advertising campaign from AT&T in the 1980’s, to the just as famous “something special in the air” campaign of American Airlines, also in that time period, to the witty “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” commercials for Apple’s computers these days.

By labelling something as “green” it also caters to our feelings. We all want to be somewhat more environmentally-friendly. We’ve all heard about the constant rise of global temperatures, the failing ice sheets in the Arctic, even the sorrows of the baby seal population during the seal hunt.

Clearly, saying something is “green” adds an element of marketability.

Problem is, not everything being sold under the “green” banner really is all that green in the first place.

Pizza Pizza claims their pizza boxes are made from recycled paper products, and even claims some outrageously high number of trees saved by their recycling efforts. But they fail to say just how much of their pizza box is made from recycled fibres. For all we know, it could be as low as one-percent – and that just doesn’t seem all that green to me.

There are many other companies all touting similar claims, yet how environmental are they really?

It is time us consumers – and we all buy things so we’re all consumers – demanded greater accountability when it comes to all things green. Before simply handing over our hard earned dollars for a supposedly “green” product – ask questions.

Just how much of that box is made from recycled materials, and how much is new paper matter?

What else do you do to promote environmental-friendly products?

How is using this green product really going to help the environment?

If we continue to blindly buy products which are sold as “green” we’re no better than the blind leading the blind. We’re being raped – as our home, mother earth is. Yet we feel better, because we THINK we’re buying products and services which do not harm the earth – but they may have little to no real environmental gains.

So, next time you’re going green – think and ask first.

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