Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Calling all Thinkers!
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,