Hey! I’m back after a long absence … Here are bits from a couple articles about “green” consumerism and how it does more for the individual conscience than it does for our planet.
Excerpt from “Can ‘green chic’ save the planet?“
Moises Velasquez-Manoff, staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the July 26, 2007 edition
“…Green has also gone trendy. Last week, Whole Foods Market released a limited edition, $15 cotton bag with “I’m not a plastic bag” emblazoned on its side. When the bag went on sale at outlets in Taiwan, a stampede followed. In Hong Kong, throngs shut down a shopping mall. In New York City last week, lines formed at dawn. Later that day, bags were offered on Craigslist for between $200 and $500. “These bags are walking billboards,” says Isabel Spearman, a spokeswoman for the bag’s designer, Anya Hindmarch. “You do have to make something trendy, and it becomes a habit. That’s the whole point.”
“Savvy marketers have clearly tapped into something. But the green craze has many asking how, if at all, it addresses what many characterize as an impending climate catastrophe.
“In what it implies about changing consumer awareness, some see ‘green-lightenment’ as heartening. And since it creates demand for more environmentally friendly products, many think it’s moving in the right direction. Yet, as one professor put it, ‘We’re basically rushing toward a cliff, full speed ahead.’ Can a fad save us? Experts’ replies run the gamut from ‘it’s a mockery,’ to it’s the beginning of – and maybe a catalyst for – greater changes to come. But no one thinks that green consumption alone can get humanity out of its climate predicament. As Alex Steffen, cofounder of worldchanging.com, an environmental- commentary website, writes: ‘There is no combination of purchasing decisions which will make the current affluent American lifestyle sustainable. You can’t shop your way to sustainability.‘”
Excerpts from “Beyond ‘Green Shopping’“
Jerry Mander & John Cavanagh
posted September 6, 2007 at thenation.com
“…Eco-conscious families are turning up with two, three, many Priuses, so every member of the family can help save the planet. Hybrids do use less fuel, but that’s not the best way to assess hybrids ecologically. Where did all the materials come from? The nickel used in Prius batteries, for example, comes from mines that are responsible for the devastation of a huge swath of Ontario. Other key scarce materials come from Africa, South America and Asia. How much energy is used to mine, process, ship across oceans and build all the parts for the car and then assemble it–and under what labor conditions?”
… “In fact, a new scientific discipline is gaining speed, particularly in Europe. Called ‘life-cycle assessment,’ it examines all the processes and materials that go into a product, ‘from dust to dust,’ to gain a true picture of its environmental footprint. In environmental terms, the best choice is not the new hybrid or any new car, but a good used car.”