Buy, baby, buy!

Buy, baby, buy!

Is it just me, or is there something intrinsically wrong with the way businesses promote their “green” credentials? Okay, don’t laugh, I know “business” and “green” are pretty much incompatible, but bear with me for a moment.

I am convinced quite a few businesspeople are genuinely concerned about the environment, climate change, and other planetary issues, but … they are still businesspeople running a business. Do you remember April 22nd? Or June 5th? My more environment-conscious fellow humans will identify these dates respectively as Earth Day and World Environment Day. Now, close your eyes and think back to these days and the few days before and after. Think about your inbox. (What, have you gone insane???) No, I assure you, this is all relevant.

I remember receiving a lot of emails from different “environment-conscious” organisations and companies promoting their wares on these days that are meant to increase awareness of environmental issues and planet-wide problems that all of us need to tackle. “Buy our organic cotton T-shirts” or “2 for 1 on our fairtrade coffee” or “Our whole range is made from FSC-certified wood. Special promotions now!”. So the overall message is “Buy, baby, buy!”. I didn’t get any messages saying “Be kind to the Planet. Don’t buy anything on Earth Day” or “To help protect nature, our web shop will be closed on World Environment Day.” Of course, if you need something, do buy the planet-friendly option, but think before you buy.

“So, what’s the point you’re trying to make?” will you say.

I was just wondering whether it is even possible for organisations who want to be really planet-friendly to survive in the global economic system we live in. Windfarms and solar arrays are touted as the solution to reduce CO2 emissions from electricity production. They are definitely better than coal and gas powered plants, but our aim is still perpetual economic growth. Power stations, whether using fossil fuels or renewables, must still produce enough energy to enable businesses to produce ever more, to enable them to live in our system, whether they want to be kind to the enviornment or not. And this is not viable for our Planet. 

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