Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Allure of Green



Green is the new black. All of a sudden, everything and everyone is green. Thanks Al Gore - I think he's the guy who finally opened the eyes of all us clueless Americans. Following the tremendous popularity of An Inconvenient Truth, I can imagine marketing departments all over the U.S. immediately jumping into overdrive with one thought in mind: How can we make our company appear to be GREEN?

Some of the new brands and labels are kind of silly. One theme that's pervasive in label text and TV commercials is the idea that living "in harmony with nature" leads to a balanced life. For heaven's sake. Nature is anything but balanced. Besides events like earthquakes, tornadoes, the extremes of seasons and weather, there's the natural disposition of plants, animals and bugs who are as "imbalanced" as we are. Just read somewhere that ants have very complicated political structures in their colonies. There's plenty of back biting and behind-the-scenes maneuvering for position in the ant world.

We need to get green, we do. We really have to stop using every natural resource on the planet in order to scratch our itch for comfort and safety. But the idea that calming down our consumerism will bring balance and harmony to our culture is really funny, at least to me. Any species, given the chance, will overpopulate and overmanipulate the landscape. We humans - as extreme and bizarre as we are and always have been - are already living "in harmony with nature." We ARE nature.

So idealistic, though, to pursue balance as we do. I do, don't you? It's a great marketing strategy for suckers like me. Gotta get out there now and BUY GREEN. Oh yeah!

13 comments:

lacochran said...

You mean I can get reincarnated as an ant and still have to deal with politics? Sigh...

dennis said...

Dennis says try living in the cat world. Same deal--politics all day long.

Reya Mellicker said...

loachochran? Oh yeah!

Dennis, this is why I'm so afraid of cats. Too sophisticated for me!

d. chedwick said...

I saw that movie Antz. There was a whole political system. Quite unfair. The Woody Allen Ant started a little rebellion I think. I'm not sure. I think I may be confusing it with A Bug's Life which I saw right around the same time.

d. chedwick said...

I find "buying organic" a bit confusing, -- I even bought a book "how to buy organic, what is really organic and what is not." turned out the authors weren't sure of anything. I showed the book to friends "Is it me or is this book totally confusing?" they said the book was confusing, that perhaps, according to the book, nothing was actually organic, but the authors couldn't really agree...

Hannah said...

You are so right! In our Marketing meetings, it keeps coming up that the board and management want us to market "green." I am so resistant. Why should public transit jump on this bandwagon? We have always been green!

Reya Mellicker said...

Hannah - YES! You have always been green. Maybe that's the mrketing angle.

Ched, yes, labeling is confusing. I try to buy food that still looks lively. Less processing means better food. I avoid Safeway, et. al. food since I know it was probably sitting in a warehouse for awhile before being on a truck for awhile, before getting to the store. I believe in Whole Foods since I worked there and know how fresh everything is (and what a good company it is for its employees).

But as for what's "organic", "free range" ?? Who knows? The worst is "all natural." Hmmmm....

dennis said...

Dennis was looking at greens yesterday and the label said Processed in the USA or Mexico - Grown in USA. does this mean they grew the greens in the USA then possibly shipped them to Mexico to wash and bind them into bunches, box and ship them to NY?
Seems like a lot of wasted gasoline driving these greens all over the place. (or flying them)

Steve said...

I think nature is out of balance in the microcosm, but in the big picture it's actually very balanced. Tornadoes amd forest fires destroy plants and animals, then they grow back even more lushly than before. Humans (who certainly are nature) have all their own petty concerns, but in the big picture they don't mean squat.

What worries me about the "humans are nature" perspective is that it too easily grants humans license to run roughshod over everything else, because hey, we're just doing our thing. And I maintain that we have a greater responsibility, given our (allegedly) higher intelligence, to restrain ourselves on behalf of other species.

Reya Mellicker said...

I'm not trying to give permission to the human race to be thoughtless assholes. But I think self acceptance, breaking the denial that leads us to believe we're so high and mighty, above it all, would help us to begin to change at fundamental levels.

Gary said...

Sometimes I wonder what things would be like if we had continued the Native American philosophy of respect for Mother Earth. They ended up being treated appallingly so their thoughts were not given much heed. Remember that commercial back in the day where a Native American walked though the land witnessing the horrid treatment and pollution and shed a tear? It always made an impact on me.

At least now more folks are conscious of taking care of the planet and showing some respect. Careless and selfish people (polluters etc) really piss me off.

Steve said...

Reya: I think you're right about breaking the denial that leads us to believe we're above it all. Humans need to realize that we're an element of everything else, all interrelated. So in that sense, yes, we need to see that we are nature.

Reya Mellicker said...

If we don't expect ourselves to be balanced, we can be more mindful of our behavior. Seems to me anyway.