Sunday, October 21, 2007

Desire and the Green Cure

by Richard Glover
Published on Sunday, October 21, 2007 by The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

I used to feel bad about mindless consumerism but not any more. The green movement has come to my rescue. With every purchase, I can now enjoy the warm glow of helping develop environmentally sound practices.

There’s my new briefcase, for example. It is shiny and luxurious and its purchase has allowed me to throw my old one into the bin. But there’s no eco-guilt for me.

According to the manufacturer, the leather in my briefcase was stained using “extracts of bark and seeds collected from renewable sources in the forests of Africa and India”. The work was all done by “traditional artisans”, all of them using “sustainable practices” in the “old saddler tradition”. There’s not a lot of detail on the leather but, based on the tone of the pamphlet, I’m pretty sure the cows would have been volunteers.

I feel I now deserve some sort of medal just for handing over my credit card.

I’m not alone in falling for this sort of sales pitch. People are always looking for an excuse to consume more and the latest excuse - bizarrely - is environmentalism.

Let’s call it “greensumerism”. Forget the simple mantra of “less is more”; with the help of the green movement you can now indulge in a frenzy of consumerism, with each luxury purchase excused by the idea that you are helping the development of the “green” sector.

People will ditch a perfectly good car in order to import the latest hybrid eco-model and expect to be praised for their sensitivity. Magazines like Vogue Living are now full of these luxurious holiday houses - temples to excess and over-consumption - which the owners claim as their personal contribution to sustainability. Rest of article here


Gartenfische said...

Yeah, buying stuff we don't need is still buying stuff we don't need. It's all about marketing and selling us more, more, more. Greed and money, money, money.

Like the article you linked to says, "The really radical response to global warming - the one you won’t find in any of the glossy green magazines - would be to rehabilitate the concept of thrift." Such a radical concept!

Suzy said...

I love this article. The whole "needing stuff" mentality drives me crazy. Thriftiness is good. Where did I read -- maybe it was in "Ancient Futures"? -- that the word "frugal" has the same root as "fruitful."

Wendall Berry has a book that is all about the evil of marketing.

So when I think I need something -- donut holes with sprinkles, for example -- I try to find them locally first. Kenosha is about as far as I'd go.

Thanks for sharing this article, Chuck!

Suzy said...


poodledoc said...

But Suzy, those were Green doughnut holes, with organic sprinkles, whole wheat flour, free trade chocolate and a recycled plastic container with a label made from 100% recycled toilet paper. Not only that, no animals were harmed in the making of this product


Suzy said...

Green donut holes? You mean they were MOLDY????