We think everyone else will be more affected than we ourselves will.
We somehow think plants and animals will be way more affected than people...as though we don't all rely on the same resources.
The comments on the Treehugger post do bring up some valid points...well, of course, future generations will be more affected than than us, and of course developing nations will have more trouble staving off impending doom than richer nations.
But I don't think you can explain the responses away as rationally as all that. People are sometimes just as irrational as they seem!
Earth Day is this Wednesday the 22nd, and as usual it brings with it a lot of hoopla...and a lot of cynicism.
Across the country there are special events and festivals. And I don't think anyone would argue that the annual Earth Day doesn't raise awareness in people who don't normal follow environmental issues closely.
But some say that's a band-aid, and in fact harmful, because it makes people think doing something on Earth Day once a year is sufficient.
Grist may have started this year's contrarianism with their Screw Earth Day project:
"One day is for amateurs. Grist is your resource for making every day earth-tastic"
"Earth Day raised the eco movement to the next level. It bridged the gap between government and grass-roots, and it was influential in the development of the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency.
But it’s been running for nearly forty years. It’s not an Event anymore. And Grist believes that because it’s just a yearly festival, it does precious little to change our habits - and anyway, what difference can one day (especially Earth Day) really make?"
So, to answer our own question, we are feeling a bit of overload when it comes to the eco marketing gravy train. But it only makes us more certain that Earth Day is an important reminder for all of us to come together to celebrate the Earth without the hype.
And they go on to list three things they love about Earth Day.
I see both sides, but I still think Earth Day does more awareness-building good than complacency-bestowing harm.
"EPA’s proposed endangerment finding is based on rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific analysis of six gases – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride – that have been the subject of intensive analysis by scientists around the world. The science clearly shows that concentrations of these gases are at unprecedented levels as a result of human emissions, and these high levels are very likely the cause of the increase in average temperatures and other changes in our climate.
The proposed endangerment finding now enters the public comment period, which is the next step in the deliberative process EPA must undertake before issuing final findings. Today’s proposed finding does not include any proposed regulations. Before taking any steps to reduce greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, EPA would conduct an appropriate process and consider stakeholder input. Notwithstanding this required regulatory process, both President Obama and Administrator Jackson have repeatedly indicated their preference for comprehensive legislation to address this issue and create the framework for a clean energy economy."
Now you may say, um, "duh", but this is a key step in getting legislative action at the federal level.
Of course, as this ABC News piece outlines, the move has its proponents and its detractors. The detractors are suitably extreme in their opposition, saying this move will single-handedly destroy our economy.
So I guess we've got the destruction on both sides, then...our planet or our economy.
Isn't it possible that we can make adjustments along the way that will prevent both? I know the bush Administration was all about "staying the course". Isn't our hope that an Obama Administration will be more nimble, less prideful?
For the last few years there has been increasing concern about, and increasing attention paid to, Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon where honey bees have been dying off inexplicably and in large numbers, which is not only a concern for the survival of bees, but also for agriculture in general.
The Bay Area is known as both a liberal hotbed (see my last post about whether the green movement is inherently politically liberal) and at the forefront of the green movement. The latter is probably true because there's so much natural beauty surrounding our urban and suburban landscapes on all sides that we cannot not think about the environment!
It's not surprise then, I guess, that there are lots of green-focused events here, and lately those events are focused on businesses, and how they can be a part of the green movement.
"...bring together small green business owners and entrepreneurs, who are passionate about creating positive environmental and social impact through their businesses and who are committed to successful business growth."
It's being run by a company that consults with companies about how to be more green, so obviously this isn't a charitable event here, but you all know my feelings on how the green movement will become ubiquitous across all socio-economic strata when it can become good business...across all socio-economic strata!
Then on May 19th and 20th we have the Greener By Design Conference. This one obviously buys into my above concept, as its elevator pitch is:
In today’s challenging economy, companies that can align environmental innovation with affordability to bring green products to the mainstream have a clear competitive advantage. How are successful companies designing greener products with little or no price premium? Join us at Greener By Design 2009 to see who's innovating, who's succeeding, how they're producing products that aren't just greener, but better — and how you can put these strategies to work in your company.
Again, a la The Sixth Sense, "I see corporate people" involved with these events. But that doesn't make them bad...it actually means the movement is getting new life, new devotees.
Is it a bummer that everyone doesn't leap to be as green as they can be, with no financial incentive and despite the cost? Is it a bummer that some companies will never care much about green practices unless it hits their bottom line? Sure. But we've got to acknowledge that reality and move on...and make people and companies care. If bottom line thinking is how we do it, so be it.
Thanks to BlogHer's Crafts editor Deb Roby, I heard about a recent kerfuffle in the seemingly utopian world of Etsy, the place to buy and sell all things handmade.
See, once upon a time a group of Etsy seller created a Team called Craftivism. Etsy Teams are self-formed and can be formed around all sorts of commonalities. In this case Craftivism wrote this mission:
The Etsy Craftivism Team is a team of progressive Etsyans who believe that craft and art can change the world. Some of us use our work to carry messages of protest and political activism. Others believe that the act of making craft can be an act of resistance. Still others see that by buying and selling directly from the maker we are challenging the all pervasive corporate culture that promotes profit over people.
The question is: What does that all mean...politically?
You may ask: Crafts? Political? What?
Well, yes. Crafts. Political. And the politics of it had some repercussions. Julie from Crafting a Green World describes the controversy when the Team organizers casually mentioned that the Team was politically liberal. Turns out, not so much. Some of the team members were not liberal, and felt compelled to quit the team subsequent to discovering they'd been lured into a liberal hotbed. Julie's post is also worth reviewing because one of those team organizers comments and tells her side of the story.
I have to say that I can understand that the mission statement above and the day to day activities of the Team may not have been overtly, explicitly, politically liberal, but check that mission statement again, please.
"Pervasive Corporate Culture"
These are not politically neutral words. They are typically identified with leftist principles.
Look, I actually think it's a good idea to really be a big tent. BlogHer, for example is non-partisan (or, we like to say, omni-partisan) and while many think that there is something inherently liberal about what we do, we do believe the mission to create opportunities for women, including for economic empowerment, is a mission that can serve all women bloggers, regardless of political affiliation. We can share a lot of similar values and work for similar change, even if we don't agree politically all the time.
So, given the Craftivism kerfuffle, let's ask the same question about the Green movement. Is it politically liberal? Can one be a conservative environmentalist? When you meet someone into the eco-movement, do you assume you know their politics?
I kinda do, I confess. Even though I know Nixon gets some props for his environmental actions. What about you?
You know how our economy is sucking wind? And you know how people kept saying during the campaign: What if we turned the same focus and energy on saving our planet that we did on the race into space in the 60s? And you know how all the focus on green and clean might actually do even more for our economy, all while saving the planet, than the space program did?
Today, let's take a look at skin care company Terralina's new gift packaging, made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bags. To be specific: "Gathered from the streets of Dehli, India, the bags are cleaned, stripped, and pressed to produce vivid colors without additional dyes or inks. The collection of these bags has also resulted in jobs for underemployed local women."
Seems like ingenuity and eco-friendliness go together well, and these kinds of projects, big and small, may be the engine behind behind both economic and environmental recovery.
Disclosure: Terralina is co-owned by a colleague of mine at BlogHer, but I only found out about this because I read Treehugger...my colleague never mentioned it.
Typically I am not a particular follower of fading celebs who keep in the public eye by launching various "lines"...of clothing, of perfume, of shoes, etc.
First of all I don't believe the celebs usually have that much to do at all with their projects, but are merely lending their name to something. Which usually means that the outlet producing their brand is even more fading than the celeb.
However, I have to say I think it's fairly cool that Christie Brinkley is producing a line of eco-friendly fabrics for Joanne's Fabrics. Using organic cotton, recycled polyester from plastic bottles and a water-free production process, it hits all the right green notes. And designing fabrics, not clothes, is a bit off the beaten path and probably smart in this era of renewed belt-tightening.
I give this announcement a thumbs up. Maybe, just maybe, this is more than hopping on the green bandwagon and reflects a real interest and passion from Ms. Brinkley.
This is the first vegetable garden at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt had one during WWII. Because of this garden we learn that President Obama doesn't like beets. I think I trust him a little less, don't you? we also learn that the White House composts. Which is pretty cool.
The message is one about healthful eating, more than belt-tightening in an economic sense.
But there is a valid argument against a White House victory garden, which is that there are larger issues at stake within our government. Planting some symbolic Swiss chard won’t change the fact that the President may have already missed the boat on real food policy change by appointing Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture. Someone who the Organic Consumers Association called “a shill for Monsanto and corporate agribusiness.” Maybe too pretty a garden would draw attention away from the fact that very little is actually changing within the combines of agricultural legislation. Maybe what we really need is to see no garden on the chemically green, landscaped grounds of the White House. Or, maybe in order to get anything to grow, you first have to plant a seed.
So, where do you stand: Practical, symbolic, waste of energy and media attention?
As someone with the blackest of thumbs I don't think I should even comment!