Green Wash Should Be On Your Radar Screen

Submitted by Zebra Mussel on Fri, 05/26/2006 - 08:06.
Green Wash Should Be On Your Radar Screen

These days green wash comes in many flavors, colors, and varieties.    There are even a few colorful local examples we have been tracking for some time now at Buckeye Sustainability Institute.  Anyone have some good examples of their own they would like to share?

RAID- Earth Options goes to show that eco sells.  The product containes a synthetic version of a plant based pesticide.   Synthesized.  Recall some plants contain deadly compounds.

If you take plant extracts that are harmful and concentrate them in your underground lab and then make them for public consumption... does that make sense?   Ahh see my previous post on the precautionary principle.   Just because something is from a 'synthesized natural source'  LOL does not make me want to spray it.     Unfortunatly, these products are banking on a society that looks no further than their title and expensive ad campaign.  Just like a camel cartoon charector on some candy cigs?

What can we do to help people realize our govt does not protect us from corporations lust for the almighty dollar.  Often times they put our safety, health, and the environment at risk to keep their shareholders happy.   Are you starting to see shareholders waking up?

Local green wash examples anyone?

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Science Center lawn ornament is greenwashing

It really troubles me we put a wind turbine in such an inappropriate place - it's like a bad Cleveland joke of yore... "where does Cleveland build windmills?... Underground." Here NYNY is pledging to go 25% alternative by 2013, and First Energy is buying wind power from PA, and we make our one windmill into a museum lawn ornament - whoever advised the funders that the windmill should go there... whoever allowed the funders to put the windmill there... the people who made the decisions are greenwashing NEOans into believing we'e doing one thing about the environment (completely obfuscating what is being done about the environment, good and bad).

Lawn Ornament Location

I drive by that wind turbine almost every day. I'm thinking to myself, why did they place it east of the Cleveland Browns Stadium?

The stadium blocks the wind turbine from the prevailing westerly winds that will make the turbine spin to it's full potential.

You're right, at that location it's a lawn ornament. That location demonstrates that this 150' wind turbine is inefficent to the public.

Perhaps they should have put it north of the stadium to show the turbine's true effiency. Efficency is what alternative energy is all about.

Greenwashing , Efficiency and Behavior

These efforts at greenwashing abound, and they permeate so many aspects of business.  ZM, you make a great point regarding the many examples of packaging and marketing tailored to supplicate the masses and quiet the activists - hence it is so important to continue to call out these greenwash attempts when we see them and enlighten those who otherwise might be duped or supplicated.

Ed, I liked your statement on efficiency.  A perfect example of this is in the area of green building and energy - we focus on smokestacks and tailpipes when it comes to emissions but the reality is that a much more significant negative impact is derived from the inefficiency of building design.

As for greenwash examples one of them reaches far beyond any individual brand or company - that recycling symbol you see on so many products, with a number inside of it is a perfect example.  Realisitically any number higher than 3 is extremely difficult if not impossible to recycle given current technology and resources - you'd be surpised how many of these items have those higher numbers.   Also, check out your typical vitamin bottle -most of these are a '2' but how many people just pitch these in the trash?  Did we ever think of models that allow reuse of these bottles, or perhaps encourage 'refillable' options?

Behavior is such a key - only 12% of plastic bottles are recycled, period.   That's a whole lot of petroleum-based waste.  When we talk about raising awareness and education around these issues this kind of data becomes critical.  The schools are a great opportunity - young people, ,many filled with unbridled idealism and energy, can be a powerful influence in their respective households in helping to bring families into line.  Ultimately, though we are all responsible - and just a little effort goes such a long way when taken cumulatively.


Hybrid label becoming greenwash hype

Your comment is excellent - I was thinking about recycling, cars, hybrids and greenwashing - the car manufacturers are only in to green to sell more cars - first they sold everyone gas guzzling land yachts, and now those all go to poor people who buy them on the secondary market, and who can afford the excess consumption the least, and those wealthy enough to buy or lease new cars every few years go hybrid and get the latest thing and the cleanest consciences money can buy, within one product cycle. Unfortunately, the products being deployed as Green in America are very unimpressive. The car makers win , but I was checking on the mileage of a few hybrids - the Prius and Highlander - and on one chat board the owners of Highlanders complained that they didn't get the mileage that was claimed by Toyota and that their mileage isn't much better than the gas version... about 30. A few days later, I saw the proud new owner for a 1985 Citroen 2CV - the Tin Can Car made in France for decades with the roll back top and 600 cc 2 cylinder motor. He was a Case dental alumnus in his late 50s who now lives and works in San Francisco - he commented how he couldn't find a great car like this for the money in California - he found this one in Painesville - but my point is he get a far cooler car than you can buy new today, probably at a fraction of the cost of a Civic, and gets 38 miles to the gallon - and he kept 1,000s of pounds of metal and plastic out of a scrap or recycling heap, and he wasn't the cause of manufacturing 1,000s of pounds of new car stuff. Greenwashing says go out and buy a hybrid today - environmentalism says consume less - it would be worth determining what is the most eco-sensible approach to cars and transformation - at least identify factors to consider when making life decisions on this... through our cars is probably how we impact the Earth the most in our lifetimes.