Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Greenwashed

I didn't even realize that today was Earth Day until I flipped on the tele this evening and was accosted by the green marketing machine. Only in America would a day meant to encourage decreased consumption wind up being the new Christmas for companies seeking to hop on the green bandwagon.

Earth Day makes me think of one thing, and one thing only: Jim and I had a really neat date on Earth Day in Washington DC eight years ago when we first started dating. Other than that really sweet memory of listening to Carol King and James Taylor on the national mall with my future husband, ED, as I like to call it, has become just another mass marketing opportunity. I even found a nifty greeting card online. I'm surprised Hallmark hasn't come out with a line of its own, but then again I haven't really sought out an Earth Day card, so I can't say for sure.

Here's a statement that may get me banned from certain circles ... I don't think the earth is as fragile as we've been lead to believe. Mother Nature is so much more powerful than us. When I was 15 years old, nine years after Mt. St. Helens erupted, I stood in the blast zone that was still gray and barren. I've been through three hurricanes in the past 10 years - Fran, Floyd and Isabelle. That's power. And, in my mind, to believe that we are somehow causing storms to be more powerful or can cause more destruction than one storm or volcanic eruption is laughable and arrogant.

Does this mean I think pollution is okay? Of course not. I just don't believe the damage is irreversible. Nature bounces back beautifully in its own time with little help from us. I have more faith that nature will heal itself than I do in man made solutions to man made problems. Do I think we need to respect and take care of the Earth? Of course, but not because we're capable of destroying it. We should take care of it because the Earth is a gift and a source of food, shelter and enjoyment.

When I was in high school, the youth leaders at my church were trying to "sell" a hip Jesus to us. I thought then, "Jesus doesn't need a PR firm." You either get it or you don't. Likewise, the Earth doesn't need a marketing campaign. You either respect the Earth for what it is or you don't. For those who don't respect the Earth, no amount of fear-tactic marketing is going to make changes that will stick.

1 comment:

maryellenlewis said...

"Mother Nature is so much more powerful than us."

I totally agree. Tsunamis are quite deadly :'O