So its 4/22 and everything has gone green in some sort of weird global St. Patrick’s Day redux. Don’t get me wrong, I love Earth day – but if I get an Earth Day greeting card from the Hallmark store, complete with 82% post consumer waste paper and soy based ink, I will have a frakin fit.
Commercialization is as pervasive as gravity, and it is one of the many threats and opportunities to global sustainability, and global sustainability is the holly grail we all need to be looking for here. Commercialization is a threat in the sense that it allows every snake oil salesman out there to slap “GREEN” and “ECO” on whatever product they are shilling for to squeeze a few more dollars out of your pockets. I have seen it with the Organic movement in food labeling, reducing the word so badly that it really is impossible to know what it means when you see it on some random whatever at your local market. Green, Eco and other foot soldiers of the lexicon going the same way, so the burden is going to be on you, the consumer, as it always is.
But commercialization is an opportunity as well, because unless sustainable principles of living, eating, building; unless these principles get blown out on a global scale we are all just spinning our wheels. Concrete with high concentration of fly ash content needs to simply be the expected option when building 100 story buildings or replacing your driveway – not an unusual “green” feature. High efficiency lighting needs to be part of the building codes of every community, and newer and better technologies, next generation bulbs without the toxic issues surrounding CFLS need to be imagined, invented and mass produced to the point where that is what you have in the local hardware store, not just an end display of “Eco” products. People need to get filthy rich doing this – unless we manage to replace capitalism as the foundation of the global economy.
Which is not a bad thought, but practically speaking I do not see it happening soon enough for us to make the deep changes we must to survive. So we have to use whats right in front of us to make it happen – and that means those sales types in their organic cotton shirts I was just talking about. You need to be rough with these guys. When one of them tells you its green, you have to say, Why? How? It is a semantic battle as much as a push for better insulation, and let me tell you something, were losing. If we lose the battle for the language of the movement, we cede the high ground. Define or be defined. Do you want some nationalist freako Bush loving totalitarian telling you what “Earth Day” is all about?