Thursday, June 19, 2008

Seeing Green

"A delicious meal now requires less energy. Now you can help save the planet in just 10 minutes. With the eco-friendly convenience of Contessa Green Cuisine. Green Cuisine comes from the world's first green frozen-food manufacturing plant. It uses half the energy and reduces CO2 emissions by 50 percent compared to a conventional plant built today. And that helps protect our planet for future generations. Easy to prepare. Easy on the planet. Contessa Green Cuisine."

--from an advertisement in the May 2008 issue of Men's Health magazine

Last year, like many people, I saw the documentary An Inconvenient Truth and got worried about the state of the environment, not to mention the guilt I felt over the amount of paper towels I've wasted in my lifetime. Around that time, as I watched the 2007 Academy Awards (when An Inconvenient Truth won for Best Documentary Feature), I made what turned out to be an accurate prediction--that companies would soon be jumping on the environmental bandwagon. It all came to me as I watched Hollywood act like giddy cheerleaders to Al Gore's star quarterback. Everyone felt great about the environmentally-friendly telecast and the electric cars that shuttled some celebrities to the event. It was only a matter of time before companies and corporations saw this as a chance to make money.

This is not to say that I'm taking the crisis lightly. I'm an avid recycler, and I make efforts to do as many little things as I'm capable of doing on a given day. I shake my head at people who believe that global warming is a myth, and based on the documentary alone, I feel that Al Gore helped set in motion events and actions that have literally changed the world for the better. While I believe that certain companies (such as Contessa) are actively making changes to fight CO2 emissions and climate change, I get a nagging feeling. A feeling that most of it is aimed at bottom lines instead of tree lines. For every soda can I recycle, I know that there is a ridiculous amount more that I could do, but I resist the idea that buying a package of sesame chicken stir-fry in order to make a difference.

I also admire people who have the means to modify their homes to utilize solar power, but sometimes it merely looks like a personal pat on the back. The other day, there was a feature on a local news broadcast, detailing a couple having an entire house (and foundation) shipped to an island off the coast of Seattle via ferryboat. The segment was very interesting, and one of the homeowners went into detail about the environmental features of the house. I'm sure her intentions were genuine, but the vibe was that it was meant to counter the fuel and energy needed to transport what appeared to be a small mansion across Puget Sound.

It would just be more refreshing if companies could be more environmentally responsible without having to show it. Of course, that's impossible, because with responsibility comes the chance to look good. Since global warming is threatening us with changes that could take place in the next ten years, perhaps I shouldn't be complaining. If an ad like the one above makes someone think about these problems, then that's a good thing. I just feel that a crisis that could lead to the loss of lives, plus the extinction of several species of animal shouldn't be fodder for sales. Individuals and companies should continue doing their part, and the only reason it should be advertised is to make others aware.


Ryer said...

Oh damn. I just ran out of granola. And Maxi-Pads. Maybe you could send me some from your ample supply?? Listen to some Devendra Banhart music on the way down to the recylcing center with your canvas sack of soda cans, Ed Begley Jr. I'm off to cut down a hippie and beat up a tree. Enjoy the Earth. Loser.

James Yates said...

Note to readers: I consider "Seeing Green" to be one of my poorer efforts on this blog. It was supposed to be a much longer piece with more examples and a stronger thesis, but I hit a wall.
Instead of removing it, I'm going to leave it for the time being, and hopefully in the next couple of weeks I will post a stronger edit. This could be a good example of bad writing, and I could compare and contrast this offering with a (hopefully) much better one. Stay tuned.

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