A closer look at the "green" movement
These days, there's nothing more hypocritical - and, if you ask me, downright silly - than the so-called "green" movement throughout the country. It has become nauseatingly trendy for the elite and the self-important (i.e., Hollywood types) to swath themselves in all things eco-friendly in order to diminish their "carbon footprint" and have "less of an impact on the environment." I'm talking about save-the-planet, tree hugging, global warming alarmists like Al Gore.
The problem is, most of this eco-friendly stuff is a bunch of bunk. The green effort is doing much more to help line the pockets of marketers and corporations than it is to help save the planet. It's just another way for the outlandishly rich to feel good about themselves.
The latest case in point is the extravagantly wealthy ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, who has painted himself as "Mr. Environment" over the years. McCartney is the pitchman for the new, ultra-expensive Lexus LS600H - the luxury carmaker's top-of-the-line hybrid vehicle. The LS600H is a Super Ultra Low Emission vehicle. It also happens to boast a muscular 430-horsepower engine and gets a not-so-eco-friendly 21 MPG. But here's the funny part. Lexus was so pleased with McCartney's efforts in the promotion of the car that they gave him his own LS600H - and they shipped it to him by plane.
According to CO2balance.com, the plane journey of McCartney's massive luxury sedan caused a carbon footprint that was 100 times larger than what it would have been had the car been shipped via boat. This is the equivalent of driving the car around the globe SIX TIMES.
Everywhere you look in this green movement, you'll find evidence of similar idiocy and contradiction. Recently, the Sierra Club named the Chevy Tahoe the "Green Car of the Year" in spite of the fact that this three-ton monster is a 20 MPG gas guzzler. But the more you learn about green initiatives, the more you discover that they're less about what they actually do, and more how they make tree huggers feel.
Of course, I believe all of this global-warming inspired hooey to be little more than a scam. These nonsensical carbon offsetting companies (whatever that is) and green corporations stand to profit enormously should any of these trendy green ideas suddenly become federal law. Overnight they will go from pricey feel-good companies for rich hippies to powerful corporations that can siphon billions of American taxpayer dollars by federal mandate. But of course, it's all in the name of saving the planet so that's OK, right?
The green industry is expected to be a $500 billion business by the end of this year, and it's all about marketing. I've written to you before about the issues with "natural goods" and the fact that there's not much that legally defines exactly what "natural" means. It's the same case with green goods. Usually, you'll find that green goods are more expensive, but there's often no proof as to whether these items are actually better for the environment.
Everything is being called green these days - snack chips, household cleaners and even liquor.
360 Vodka touts itself as "the world's first eco-friendly premium spirit" because it's packaged in a bottle that used 85 percent recycled glass. But what about the grain or the water that's used to make the actual vodka? They don't say anything about that, but the recycled bottle thing should be enough to turn 360 Vodka into a new (and wildly expensive) trend.
While few of these companies lie about just how green their products are, many are just as weasel-like as 360 Vodka by using vague and meaningless terms like "earth friendly" on their packaging - when there is no definition (legal or otherwise) for these terms.
In fact, the marketing of faux green products has become so prevalent, there's even a term for it: "greenwashing." One product in particular that's raised the ire of eco-types is the household cleaner Simple Green which claims to be a non-toxic and safer alternative to other cleaners. Yet Simple Green contains butyl cellosolve - a toxic solvent that's found in many traditional all-purpose cleaners. Simple Green even bears a label that warns users not to dispose of it "near storm drains, oceans, lakes, or streams." And this is a safer alternative?
Here's the important point to remember: no matter how many hybrids you drive, or how many recycled bottles full of vodka you drink, there are still huge swaths of the planet that don't give a damn about being green - and the summer Olympics will be held in one of those countries this year. And there's nothing 300 million Americans can do to offset the carbon footprint of over a billion people in China.