Dying of consumption

Green is the new black…..

“Eco-clothing, fair and far from square” (The Times)

The Guardian has a whole Eco-store

The Independent has an eco-living section in its store

And so on. Some of these products would save energy. Some are made out of natural products by hand…. Some of these products are complete crap. They are all basically spreading the message- spend more, buy more goods to save the environment.

A graphic on the BBC that shows how much space there is for everyone on the planet. There were 8.91 hectares for each person on the planet in 1900. There are 1.83 now. This, in itself suggests a species that’s too successful for its own ecosystem so is well on its way to extinction.

Being humans rather than pond snails, we aren’t just passive victims – we could solve many of the resulting problems. We all have to consume things to survive. But is ever-more fashionably “green” consumption really the direction we should be going in?

It’s a “guilt-trip you, then offer you a way to buy your way out of the guilt, then sell you something” solution.

Which is pretty much a solution that meets the needs of manufacturers to get customers, but I have to admit to extreme scepticism about its value to the environment.

Though even “green” consumerism has an edge over the general direction of government environmental policy which seems to be based on the counter-intuitive idea that the rich don’t cause ecological problems. Because – when they don’t involve denying there are any problems – government policies on the environment usually consist of making people pay more for energy, fuel, water, sewage disposal, garbage collection and road use. (As well as building shiny new eco-friendly nuclear power stations, of course.)

My today’s-favourite piece of eco-*** comes from Nigel’s Friendly Eco-Store.

Life’s a Picnic – an eco bag and cutlery set, for an eco picnic and day out
This great eco friendly picnic set is great for spontaneous and carefree picnics with a conscience. Fitted into a jute bag with Life’s a Picnic print are plates, cups, glasses, cutlery and napkins – all fully biodegradable/compostable. …….
Every part of this eco picnic set comes from sustainable plant sources and is ethically produced. The plates, cups, glasses and cutlery can all be re-used several times, if gently washed and dried after use. Available for four or eight people

So, forgive me if I’m misunderstanding here – too busy counting all the “eco” words – this is a disposable paper picnic set? You can use it a few times if you are very careful. Wow. That’s so much more planet-friendly than that stuffy old earthenware or metal picnic set that you can re-use thousands of times…..

2 thoughts on “Dying of consumption

  1. It’s quite interesting how everyone has ‘gone green’ in the last few years. Eco this, a new green campaign, it’s everywhere. Also interesting how so many major companies (NBC, Honda, GE) have all made ‘green’ versions of their logo.

  2. I think the point of this eco bag is that not everyone wants to lag around the heavy earthenware picnic set that can break if you don’t carry it around protected in the old picnic hamper. I think it’s a great idea to have a fully compostable picnic set that will make you think twice about buying those bleached and horribly soggy paper plates that just end up on our landfill.

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