Get ready for some spring cleaning. Here's a post that's been sitting in my drafts for a few months. I'd be remiss in not highlighting Gregory Rodriguez's thoughts on the co-optation of environmental rhetoric by the capitalist marketplace:
Most external national threats remind us of our essential goodness. The agents behind them are our enemies, the bad guys. Environmentalist rhetoric, on the other hand, constantly reminds us of our own culpability. For that reason, environmentalism is more akin to a religious awakening than to a political ideology. Like evangelicals, environmentalists speak, in their way, of fire and brimstone. Like the preacher, the environmental activist demands that we give ourselves to something beyond ourselves and that we do penance for our wasteful, carbon-profligate sins. Like the Catholic Church of old, they even sell indulgences -- carbon offsets.
And like any religion that emphasizes sin, devotees will find all sorts of ways to prove their personal righteousness. Particularly during the Christmas shopping season, it's fun to watch this new secular religion collide with one of our more established ones: shopping. Just last week, I received a renewal notice from my favorite newsmagazine that promised if I renewed my subscription now (and thereby kept the publishers from sending me 10 more paper reminders), I could "renew the Earth" at the same time. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Plenty of marketers and manufacturers are spinning their products as eco-friendly, not because they'll actually help the Earth but because they hope it'll make you feel better buying them. In fact, the near omnipresence of environmentalist rhetoric in the marketplace ought to be its own warning sign. Once eco-friendliness has become moral currency, and everyone exploits it, the less likely any of it is to make a difference.
Ah, yes. Reminds me of something I saw at Whole Foods the other day.
Coming to a town near you...