We talk a lot about becoming greener as individuals and as a country. But the focus is often on simplistic, even mindless solutions, like using biodegradable packaging materials. And we fail to take truly meaningful steps, like a sea change in gasoline consumption, or adoption of solar and wind power. Two of the biggest problems are irresponsible marketing and ignorant media.
As part of my ongoing rant on this subject, I saw two stories recently that illustrate the point on marketing (good media, however).
1) In today’s New York Times Magazine, there a story titled “Water Proof: A bottled water criticized by environmentalists tries to detoxify its image.” (Different title online) Fiji Water sells bottled water in the United States that is shipped from the South Pacific. It came under attack for obvious reasons, and in a bid to survive, it has launched a new ad campaign called “Every Drop is Green”. Your purchase of Fiji Water actually results in a reduction of carbon in the atmosphere, says the company. This twisted logic is made possible by a company program to plant new trees. Also: The company used to ship water to LA and then truck it to the rest of the USA. Now it ships to LA and Philadelphia, and then distributes by truck. Furthermore, Fiji Water will continue to reduce its carbon footprint through improved packaging. I guess that means ever-thinner plastic bottles (made in China BTW). Hey folks, tap water is cool and really reduces the carbon footprint. Continuing my efforts to be the kosher rabbi of environmental claims, I give Fiji Water an “F”.
2) One May 29, the Wall Street Journal ran an article titled “Just How Green is Faux Grass.” Someone somewhere thought they were doing a great deed for the environment by spending around $10,000 to install synthetic grass on their yard. The environmental pitch? It saves water, eliminates gas used for mowing, reduces fertilizer use and uses fill made from recycled tires. OK, all good stuff, but give me a break. That’s like saying I made a house of plastic to save trees. Environmental grade: ”F”.
OK, I’ll try looking for some legitimately good stuff.