Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Not as green as they claim to be - The Boston Globe

Not to say "I told you so," but I'm glad to see my local paper discussing issues of the new Green craze that have been concerning me for a while.

When "green" became a positive catch phrase, products started tossing it around for the marketing benefits. But the term is meaningless; there are no guidelines or restrictions. This article includes many examples of "green" products that are no better, or even worse, than other products that don't wave that flag.

Of course I'm all for environmental protection and awareness. I drive a Civic with amazing mileage; I recycle religiously (and more importantly, I reuse as much as possible first, as the recycling process uses up energy); I even bought a "green" house that's highly energy-efficient and contains no off-gassing synthetics.

But I don't want the term to be cheapened, or an unaware public to be fooled. Take the Poland Spring bottle. Sure it uses 30% less plastic, which is great. But bottled water is a huge waste of transport energy on top of all the plastic. People should be drinking tap water and carrying it around in reusable containers.

When cars were introduced, they were a solution to the existing problems of that time. But flash forward a few years, and they've created a whole new set of problems. Our environmental crisis is a complex issue. Simplistic solutions are only going to create new problems for us in the future. And simplistic promotion of anything that calls itself green feeds right into that.

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