Saturday, March 6, 2010

The money grubbing "green" movement

Well, I hate to start this blog with a vent, but I think that's exactly what I'm going to do....

I have to say, that I really hate this whole "green movement" we're seeing in the world. Not that I hate the education that's taking place, or that other people are starting to care about the planet - I love that part of it. What I really hate is the corporations who are trying to fit into the green movement. They aren't making changes in the things they do (many of them), but finding new, un-green ways to make a buck off of people trying to do the right thing for ourselves and our environment. It makes me sick!

For example, I went into Caribou Coffee the other day. Surely, brewing a cup of coffee at home would probably have been cheaper for me, and ultimately the environment (think of all the energy it takes to keep the store running, keep hot, fresh coffee brewed at all times, even when people won't drink it), but I like to treat myself occassionally. And Caribou tends to lean towards making a difference. Long before it was in style, they had Rain Forest Alliance certified coffees, and fair trade options - and those things are absolutely important. But, I walk in, and they have reuseable sleeves (the cardboard things that go around the outside of your cup). I think to myself, what a great idea! Let's be honest, if I'm out and about, I don't always take the whole cup and sleeve back to my house to recycle it, even though it's made out of recycled paper, and belongs in my recycling bin. I grab two of them, one for me and one for Phil. Of course, it seems at the time, that the whole thing is silly, because the BEST option is to buy a reusable mug, and bring it in - they'll even give you ten cents off for doing so, but I'm more comfortable spending the $3.50 for the sleeve than $30 for a good mug. They hand it to me - in a paper bag. I could have carried it, with no bag, but what the heck, it's paper - I can recycle it. I get home, I tell Phil about my wonderful new eco friendly sleeve, and he starts making the point about the recycling of the sleeves is hardly the worst thing we do. Meanwhile, I'm about to make the argument about the energy it takes to recycle, and I notice the tag on the sleeve. It was made in China!!! Talk about the energy it takes to make things - not only did a factory probably release tons of toxins in the air while creating it, but I don't even want to think about the emissions from flying the merchandise (or shipping), and then the in country shipping via trucks. So much for being green - that little sleeve probably ended up emitting more carbon than I had ever wanted!

Or take for example, Clorox. They now have a green line of cleaners. Um, what? Why do you have an entirely seperate line of cleaners for the green movement. Is there a reason that Clorox doesn't fix its practices and original cleaners? Seriously, if the company truly cared about the environment, all of their products would be becoming green and there would be no need for a seperate label. Instead, they are catering to a growing market rather than trying to make a difference.

I could go on and on about all of the things I've noticed corporations doing, to appear "green" to increase their sales bases, meanwhile not changing any practices that matter, but I think the point has been made. It really fries my fritters that despite all of the evidence about the damage that we, as humans, are doing, money is still the number one priority for these corporations. I hope our children's generation will fix this culture of greed and indifference!

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