Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Green Marketing Lies

I've been thinking a lot about how to reduce waste and lower my own carbon footprint, and I think a lot of you would like to do this too. Going over your activities, however, I keep seeing the same laments, that you'd like to be less wasteful, but you just can't afford organic vegetables, free-range meat, and hybrid cars. It almost seems like being resource efficient is something only the very wealthy can manage.

But wait! In EVERY SINGLE ACTIVITY you all pointed out that lower income countries have a smaller ecological footprint than the much wealthier United States, how are those folks managing it?

Not that I'm trying to imply that you should all start living like rural peasants, but I think the problem is that you've all become brainwashed by a very intentional marketing scheme which is telling you that you have to buy more products in order to be more ecologically efficient, and that's not true. Those companies need you to buy their products to stay in business.

While it's true that a new Toyota Prius uses less fuel per mile than a 1988 BMW 325, the energy and resources put into that vehicle, and especially the resources that are used to keep the factory rapidly producing more cars (since it's normal in America to replace one's vehicle every 3 years or so) are much much greater than to continue using the same old car until it is actually worn out.

What do you think would create a smaller ecological footprint: every American deciding to purchase a new fuel-efficient hybrid vehicle, or every American deciding to only buy one car every 20 years?

What if instead of buying prewashed, chopped and bagged salad mix, you bought a much less expensive head of unpackaged lettuce instead? Instead of buying a box of frozen hamburger patties, get a package of ground beef and make your own.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that the trick to wasting less isn't spending more. It's buying less (an alarming logical system)

1 comment:

  1. What Paris is talking about it a perfect example of "hegemony." The "greenwashing" of marketing is so ubiquitous that we often don't even stop to consider if its claims are true. I've heard hegemony described as buying into your own domination (this can be mental, but can at the same time have real material affects). In this case, you may be literally buying into it.