A strange title you may be saying but read on for a very interesting take on the world of the “Eco” movement and a great response to a post I made not so long ago. Here at the Self Sufficiency website we are pleased to have this guest post from John and if you would like to write a guest post of your own feel free to contact us.
In response to the article entitled Are you an”Eco” Hypocrite the answer in the widest possible sense is that we are all eco hypocrites or ecocrites. Just being alive requires us to use natural resources to feed, clothes and shelter us. The more people there are the bigger the strain that is placed on the environment to provide for people’s wants and needs, and to try and absorb all the waste that humans leave behind. Within the next 50 years the world population is set to nearly double. That makes anybody who has or is planning to have a child a traitor to the environment. Like Agent Smith said in Matrix,
“Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet.”
This, however, is an extreme view. It is taking the notion of treading lightly on the world to its logical conclusion. It is not a practical or helpful opinion. But it does illustrate the point that nobody is leading a perfectly ‘eco’ life. We all consume and all produce CO2 and methane and a variety of other waste products that doesn’t help the eco-system. What we should bear in mind that just because perfection cannot be reached it doesn’t mean all our efforts are in vain to try and protect the environment and to try and reduce our carbon footprint.
There are a plethora of websites devoted to this topic. Some are really good and informative and others are frankly misleading and just in it for the cash. I have a website promoting ‘green’ and money saving products but I actually do some research before posting an article and making a buying recommendation. This seems obvious to me – if you don’t believe in the product than why should anybody else? Ethics is a thorny topic especially when it comes to the internet where our actions often seem devoid of consequences and moral opprobrium. But really, people will try and sell anything on the internet if they think they can make it fly with a ‘green’ label.
An example of this is CFL bulbs as a replacement for incandescent bulbs. They last much longer and give off a fuller spectrum of light but they contain mercury. CFL light bulbs are not in any way a green alternative. Mercury is a heavy metal that doesn’t go away. It gets in the eco-system and as it goes up the food chain gets higher in concentration. Mercury was number three on the 1997 list of hazardous substances as outlined by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. In America one-in-six children born every year have been exposed to mercury levels so high that they are potentially at risk for learning disabilities, motor skill impairment and short-term memory loss. How can ‘green’ internet marketers ignore this?
Another example of how some ‘green’ internet sites are unethical and ‘eco’ hypocrital is when they fail to even read the reviews made by customers on Amazon. They just see another ‘green’ device and immediately post an article about the device with an Amazon link looking for some referral cash. To pick just one example, the Xantrex Technologies 852-2071 Xpower AC/DC Powerpack Solar With 400 Watt Inverter, Two AC Outlets, USB Port, And Digital Display has a litany of poor reviews and complaints below its listing on Amazon. One or two reviews may be good, but they seem in the minority and suspiciously thorough. Yet this heavy, underperforming solar device is being flogged on a number of ‘green’ websites dealing with solar energy. Fortunately Mr. Dirty Boots is not promoting this item in his article Which solar backpack to buy. I am also interested in solar energy and believe in the products I write about, for example the solar powered tiki torch which you can check out on my site.
So there you have my take on the matter of being an ‘eco’ hypocrite. None of us are perfect, only by leading a life like Gandhi would we get anywhere near to being really ‘eco’ friendly. The greatest sinners are not those who have kids or own a car but, in my opinion, those who just see the ‘green’ movement as an opportunity to flog any old shit.
I struggle with this concept too. How are we going to be truly eco friendly without giving up our cars, our electricity, our vacations and more. If being truly green really does mean living in a cave, never going anywhere except on foot and never buying another consumer item, it’s going to be an uphill struggle.
I also wonder about all the “green gadgets” and the carbon footprint of creating them in the first place. They *may* be green longer term, but many people will simply throw out their old product to replace it with a green one. How long is the payback before this exchange is really benefitting the planet (if ever?).
As far as I am concerned, if we want “green” to become mainstream, we need ot find solutions that enable normal, busy people to live a green life *without* having to give up all their home comforts. And we need more solid information on what really is green, and what is simply “greenwash”.