• Tuesday, July 10, 2007

    Going Green – is it just me or is it hot in here?


    Okay, here’s what I’m burning on today.


    Our Great Barrier Reef is now dying at an astonishing rate due to rising water temperatures. It’s dying faster than I can save to fly there and dive it. But Al Gore (the ex-veep, not his headline-stealing, drunk-driving, son) is hosting mega –concerts on multiple continents to teach us the importance of using energy efficient lightbulbs. Correct me if I'm wrong, but did he insist the White House get fitted with same? I know about these concerts because I read a nice piece on MSNBC.com by a British journalist who flew to the US to cover our concert here, rather than save all those carbon credits and cover the event on his own home turf.

    Gore’s concerts to save the planet were accomplished with the help of stars who’ve jetted all over the globe for the occasion, including US-based bands who flew to other continents to perform. He also had help from organizers and roadies seen drinking Fiji water from plastic bottles. And don’t forget the 60,000 fans in NJ alone who had to drive their cars to the venue selected. I quote “…only mass transit available directly to the Meadowlands was New Jersey Transit Authority buses coming from midtown Manhattan. “I would’ve taken the bus, but I wasn’t going to drive all the way into Manhattan just to do it,” said Michael Frank, who drove 30 minutes from his home in Short Hills, New Jersey in his Mercedes-Benz. “That’s the problem with the Meadowlands,” he said. “No trains, no metro stops. You’ve got to drive to get here. You have no choice.” Oh, no Michael you had a choice. Stay home and watch it on TV. Don't buy a Mercedes, Michael, that's another choice.

    And some eejit named Akon, described as a rapper who “…drives a Lamborghini Gallardo (9 miles per gallon) and owns a South African diamond mine, admitted that he was only just now cluing into environmentalism. “I just realized today what the meaning of green is,” he said.

    How much in carbon emissions could have been saved if people simply watched the performers from their own TVs or computers? How about if performers contributed via satellite? How many landfills of concert trash could have been avoided?
    Going Green- it isn't easy. Then again, sometimes it is.
    Every time I look at some list of top ways to “go green” and save the planet, it seems to start with buying someone’s product. Call me a relic but in the old days we started by saying “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” I think that’s how it went but I wasn’t ever really that virtuous…My point is this, and I do have one: buying more consumer products will not help us reduce waste, or toxic emissions, carbon footprints or what have you. Buying things to save the planet only makes sense to those who are selling things. This they do, not to save the planet but to save their jobs. Remember the old anti-war slogan: “Fighting for Peace is like Fucking for Virginity.” Why buy new Windex wipes when yesterday’s newspaper with a little water or vinegar cleans glass just as well? Go ahead, try it.

    Another example: I pick up “Real Simple” magazine on a recent trip. Never mind it’s over 300 pages long. We could probably cut down on carbon emissions by requiring airline passengers to limit the heft of their reading materials. Anyway, the first ad in "Real Simple" is for an SUV. The second ad is about “Nature’s Gifts” but it’s not about the rainforest or the Barrier Reef. No, it’s about clothes at Baby Gap. Any new parent will tell you that babies grow out of clothes LONG before they wear them out. Recycling baby clothes is one of the easiest ways to cut down on wasteful consumerism.


    Next ad: Elizabeth Hurley for Estee Lauder. I must have missed the news of how my makeup choice and buying more of it will help “simplify” my life. Ask any honest woman and she will tell you that she has bins of unused makeup that have done nothing to simplify her life. Next ad: more new clothes. Next ad: Visa card encouraging me to go to the Kentucky Derby. (In my new clothes, with my new makeup, in my new SUV, no doubt.)


    Irons for Irony's sake?
    On page 10 – the first hint of any real content: a quote from Dorothy Parker – under a picture of an iron on an ironing board. The quip “It’s not the tragedies that kill us, it’s the messes.” Somehow, I don’t think Dot was thinking about global warming or simplifying my life. I’ll bet if she were, thinking about either, it would be a martini in hand, not an iron.

    Well, you get my drift. It is simply offensive to have hucksters using guilt to sell us more crap in the name of “conservation.” Carbon credits are largely viewed as a dubious benefit to the environment. The myth that we can buy our way to guilt-free, planet saviour status is just that: a myth. Real behaviour change means more than buying a more fuel-efficient SUV. It means not buying one to begin with. I want a carbon credit (or some kind of credit) for every jerk who went to one of these concerts but still has to have the i-Phone, the Xbox or some other new toy and drove to the concert with a case of individually bottled water in the trunk of his SUV. How many of us have drawers and closets littered with last years’ model of gadget or last seasons’ hemlines? I'm guilty.

    Next time someone tries to sell you their product to assuage your guilt as a consumer, beat them to the punch and say “no thanks.” Then feel good that you’ve done something meaningful, at least this day for mother earth.

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    2 Comments:

    Blogger somd said...

    Amen, sister! I'm having EXACTLY the same reaction about all the "consume to save the environment" shit - and yes, it's total shit. It's truly amazing how few people actually even TRY to reduce, reuse and recycle. And that's all I want to see, just TRYING. No one's perfect, nobody's expecting perfection, just do what you can when you can. And speaking of doing what you can, I want to put a little plug in for an EXCELLENT group (or set of groups) called "Freecycle.org" on Yahoo Groups. You join your local group and get emails (set up the way you want, individually or as a digest) where people post usable stuff that they don't need anymore. Or you can post what you need that someone else might have. I've gotten rice cookers, tvs, leftover primer (perfect for the home renovation project we're doing) and more - all stuff that would've gone to the landfill. And even cooler, I've de-cluttered (yes, SIMPLIFIED) by posting stuff I don't need anymore. How nice for someone else to pick up my "junk"! But I digress, I really just want to give big kudos to your reality check, Jackie!

    10:39 AM  
    Blogger JacquelineC said...

    Thanks for stopping by and for the vote of confidence. I hope people see the plug for freecycle.org, I was just thinking of it the other day.

    1:49 AM  

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