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