Greenwashed Canaries are Expensive!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Calling all Thinkers!

I found this ad on , it speaks for itself. It does however raise a pet topic of mine, “GreenWashing“.

Greenwashing is insidious, it has infiltrated the advertising of every industry from automotive manufacture (i.e. Chevy and BMW : at what point did 30mpg highway become good?), to chemical companies like DOW (who presumtively offer to guide the Government in drafting a comprehensive energy plan), to your exclusively priced consumer goods like you find at Gaiam.

Greenwashing is seductive; the advertising pulls on your emotions and amplifies concerns you may have, however they bank on your passive acceptance of their imagery rather than critical analysis.  The next time you see an ad that:

  • has copious amount of the color or the use of the word green 
  • showcases incongruous amounts of plants, mountains and sea birds surrounding a green MACK truck
  • on a perfectly sunny day, makes you want to cry or hug your neighbor’s dog.

Before allowing your senses to be completely seduced, you should ask yourself…

  • Where do those products come from?
  • What is the health of the trees, water, animals, insects and local people as compared to before the factories?
  • Who made those products? and who actually uses them?  Are they the same people?
  • Why do I feel like crying right now? Where’s my puppy Shay Shay, I need a hug!

So, my dear detective friends, you may say, oh, I can look for that information. I challenge you to do so! These real impacts are purposely kept hidden because the truth, well, the truth might not set you free, but it would certainly wake you up! 

So you may ask me “Just what are you trying to say?” I am saying:

  •  If the ad does not answer those questions, then you’ve been greenwashed.
  • If you cannot find those answers on the packaging or the company website, then you have been greenwashed.

The production of truly ‘Organic’, ‘Environmentally Friendly’ or ‘Sustainable’ is completely transparent from cradle to cradle. Think of a farmers market: you can meet the people who grow, bake or processes your food, wine, yarn etc,  you can visit the farm, and you can talk to the farmers, workers and ask them questions about the entire process (and actually receive an answer, and maybe an invitation to experience it firsthand!). I dare you to try that with any mass producer of so-called ‘green’ goods.

So, to wrap up, if any part of the production process is hidden from you, not easily accessible on wikipedia, their website or the ad itself,

Don’t Believe the Hype! Green is just a Marketing Type!


3 thoughts on “Greenwashed Canaries are Expensive!

  1. Thanks. I have seen that “human element” commercial before. I was all touched by it until I realized it was Dow. The same Dow that bought out the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India. The same plant that killed anywhere from 8,000-16,000 people in 1984. That is not the mention the severe environmental damage. The advertising people do know how to pull at your heart strings though. In the immortal words of Public Enemy,”Don’t Believe The Hype!”


    • Exactly! Greenwashed products, companies, services etc. obscure the parts of their story that directly contradicts their public image. The question remains though, how is your everyday person in the midst of the travails of life, supposed to separate from their emotions enough to recognize when they are being subliminally and subtly influenced by sounds, colors, provcative images and such? This is a big question, not that I have an answer, but it is the question that this blog is aimed at. I hope that these posts in some way flexes the critique muscle that lay dormant within each of us. Its time to hold insdustry to new standards where we aren’t lulled into pacifistic acceptance of unfair practices.


  2. Pingback: David Hasselhoff won’t be the only one with a K.I.T. « think. feel. grow!

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