Moneydick

Technology, Art, and Power

Month: April, 2010

Thoughts on Greenwashing – Not buying vs. Buying Green

Contributing to our failure to protect the Earth is the idea–promoted by countless marketing campaigns–that buying something made in a certain way or with certain materials helps save the planet. It’s is a simple fact that production produces waste. End of story. A trillion times a day we buy into the fact that the properties of some manufactured good make it less harmful to the environment.

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We are all guilty (I included) of releasing our hold of environmental realities on behalf of some plastic green sticker. The sticker (usually a leaf / clear drop of water motif) touts the product’s adherance to one vein of environmental responsiblity. “Made with 10% renewable energy” or “Made of post-consumer recycled materials.” Whether it be related to what it’s made of, what was recycled to become a part of it, or what type of power contributed to it’s construction–it’s still a waste. As a culture, our eco-awareness takes flight whenever we make one of these “responsible” purchases. Only by reusing or doing without can we we ever be honest with ourselves when we say “I’m helping the environment.” No amount of buying newly-produced manufactured goods ever helped the planet. Of course there may be exceptions, but there aren’t many.

Passing on a purchase should provide us with a far greater eco-snobbery than a greenwashed purchase.

Producing things takes enormous amounts of energy. Products made of bamboo–like a rug or a sheet–may be built with renewable resources. But the fact that they were cut by steel, powered by coal, and then shipped on a freighter thousands of miles in green packaging should give us pause. Instead, the intrinsic value of the product grows far higher. We would pay a premium for that sticker. Time to pat ourselves on the back for leaving the store.

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A new Constitutional Convention

Time for a new Constitutional Convention?

Conventional wisdom will argue that constitutional conventions or amendments are just impossible. Just like it was impossible to wrest a republic from the grip of monarchy or abolish slavery. Or impossible to elect Ronald Reagan or Barack Obama. But conventional minds are always wrong about pivotal moments in a nation’s history. And this is a pivotal moment in ours, when a movement to restore democracy is possible.

Indeed, the movement has already begun. Legislators in South Carolina, Virginia, Oregon, Rhode Island and Florida are already throwing sparks that could soon become a brush fire across the country. More and more are coming to see that if reform is necessary—as most all of us, whether from the right or left believe—this is the only way.

Congress has perfected the art of defending the status quo because it is dependent—for its campaign funds—upon the status quo. If we are to break this dependency which holds our nation hostage, we’re not going to do it in Washington. We’ve got to start handing out pitchforks in the states and organize a national convention. From there we will scale the federal ramparts and regain some sense and accountability.