Greening the globe: market or movement?

Since the argument for and against climate change has gained more speed in the past couple years, people are becoming more aware of what’s happening on the earth around us. These global changes, however, have been happening for hundreds of thousands of years as part of a cycle. In more recent times, global warming (happening through the hole in the ozone, polar ice caps melting, rising sea levels, and increasing temperatures) has become a common phenomena with many people saying “Oh, the result must be global warming,” or “It’s hot because of global warming.” The words “global warming” are widely used, but how much of the actual problem is being recognized?

I went to the mall the other day to get some scrubs for work, and while I was there I noticed how green everything was. Green for green, if you will. Handbags, countless t-shirts, wristbands, necklaces, socks, posters, bracelets, flip flops, and tons of more merchandise shared the same words “Go Green,” “Respect Your Mother,” “Save the Planet,” etc. Being “green” and environmentally friendly isn’t in the interest of the environment; it’s in the interest of manipulating a global awareness trend into a marketable venue.

This wouldn’t be too much of a bad thing if this awareness was actually getting somewhere. Most of the t-shirts and handbags made in the name of “eco-friendly” ideas were made in very unfriendly, polluting ways. Just by looking at the tags of the products alone, you see “made in ______.” Insert China, India, Brazil, Indonesia at your convenience. Items traveling from China go over 9,000 or more miles to get to my mall in Elmira, NY. More than ten tons of CO2 is dumped into the atmosphere for each load of clothing or tote bags. Not to mention the materials of which the clothing and totes are made. How does this make it more environmentally-friendly?

I fully support spreading awareness, but how effective is this awareness? By wearing a t-shirt that says “I recycle” makes the statement that obviously you recycle. But, then you go home with your smoothie from the mall and throw out your plastic smoothie container when you’re finished. It’s recyclable; you can surmise this from the recycling sign and a number on the bottom. If it’s recyclable, why aren’t you recycling it? It’s one thing to claim to the general public that you’re eco-friendly, and it’s another thing to actually be eco-friendly. If you’re going to represent the trend, represent it! Offset the carbon footprint from buying that t-shirt through www.carbonfund.org. Buy from local vendors. Research where the items you buy come from and where you can find some of the same products closer. Do something in the movement!

A movement starts with awareness, but it needs action to actually move.

Do the research and help move society into an actual “eco-friendly” atmosphere.

Other sites:

http://ecoproducts.com/cms/index.php

http://www.ecozenboutique.com/catalog.php?category=43

http://www.ecomall.com/biz/clothing.htm

About the Author

Jr. SUNY Oswego Journalism major Global Studies Minor Environmental activist, cultural advocate, uninhibited dancer, singer, writer, traveler.
Email: kraymond@oswego.edu
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5 thoughts on “Greening the globe: market or movement?

  1. This world needs more people like you. People that is eager,enthusiastic, selfless and passionate about doing what we all know its right, Not just for us but for everyone.

  2. Thanks Gaston. Hey, it starts with one person, so you can always pick up the movement :)

  3. It is strange how many consumers project an air of learned helplessness, as if there is no other choice than buying T-shirts made under a despotic dictatorship via Wal-Mart. One think I really like about Adbuster’s Buy-Nothing Day (aka Black Friday) is that it’s meant to remind the world that consumers, not the corporations, are really in charge of the market. Great entry!

  4. Nice addition, Tim! We should definitely do something like that on campus. I’ll tell Students for Global Change about it. I think it’s up to the corporations to make the first step towards eco-friendly products. If they’re the ones who make the change, then consumers will have no other choice than to buy those products. But, it won’t happen unless that first step is made…Let’s hope for the best.

  5. Definitely the market. The bottom line for corporations is always their profit margin. if people are going to make significant cutbacks in global emissions and a movement towards more organic, environmentally-friendly industrial methods, some kind of organization is needed to ensure that everyone is involved. Otherwise a few honorable businesses will suffer huge losses while those that care only for their own advancement will make huge profits using the cheapest methods possible.
    Buying organically doesn’t have to be expensive, but it is because companies that only sell organically are either too small to compete with corporations or too limited in their consumer group to make large enough profits that would allow them to sell their products at better prices. As long as it’s permissible to be wasteful, negligent, and willfully ignorant in the name of currency, people will.
    I think that a commercialized green movement can serve as a great start. It at least “primes the pump” if you will, for more legitimate movements that affect greater change. The mall-goer with the “green” t shirt on who doesn’t know to recycle his/her smoothie cup is at least dimly aware that environmentalism is relevant. I think it will take people like you persuading, appealing, and illuminating for people how relevant their individual actions really are in the global scope of this movement for them to realize it more fully.
    For us to realize it more fully I guess I should say :) Great post.

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