Sunday, November 14, 2010

No Greenwash Christmas!

I'm fearing another Greenwash Christmas ( ... to the tune of “I'm dreaming of a white christmas" ).

Is there anything worse than a greenwash? Marketing firms schlepping the same old junk with a green facade. With “mega consumption day” , December 25th , on its way, many are out "to make a difference" by purchasing “green products”. People are somehow trapped into the social phenomenon that “what I buy for others” reflects on my person and charity. Even the notion that gift giving is an accepted means to express ones emotion, further demonstrates gift giving as a culture of consumption. As such, people are out there gobbling up “green products” in an effort to demonstrate how much they care about a person and the environment. Two emotions with one stone? No, give the gift of a healthy planet!

The fact is that very few products are green. Being a product designer, I can tell you that majority of these products are far from green. Using a few green materials on a device that will end up in a landfill, in short order, is not that of green. No improvements in lifecycle. No tangible benefit on the environment.

I saw one product, some tiny headphones, that uses wood ( that is “happy-farmed” ) to make it “green”. The same old headphones, but a tiny chunk of “green” wood. Seems, in my experience, that headphones break easily because of the tiny fragile wires that connect the “ear buds” to the playback device. In my youth, I can remember repairing these tiny headphones numerous times to fix them, but more importantly because they were expensive and I was “cheap” ( still am ). Yet, consumers seem to think that green products help the environment. The greenest thing is not to consume. Why not give “no gift” for the environment ( wow, people will think you are cheap ). My family has evolved ( but not completely ) to give more gifts that make great memories ( making a nice dinner, a few days visit to a cool place, a train ticket for a visit ). Still, I do get a plastic toy, from China, from my mom ( yes, I am over 40 ). I tell people: no gifts thanks, give me something more! Slowly, people are “getting it” after many years of me telling them “do not buy landfill-junk for an environmentalist Bright for christmas”. Okay, books are good, yummy food treats: yes. I think you get my point.

This christmas, break free from the lemming mentality and be original. Give a gift of experience. From my experience, people enjoy them more and they are friendlier on the planet.


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