The Green Bandwagon
So this morning, as I was watching a little bit of CNN’s nonstop 40-hour coverage of the primaries (and wondering whether I should drool in ecstasy at the prospect of 40 hours of pure politics or just simply lobotomize myself), I saw a new Toyota commercial in which a model of a Prius hybrid was constructed out of natural materials (sticks, straw, etc.) and then broke down over time, as if the components were returning to the Earth. This is part of Toyota’s zero-waste campaign, which is part of a larger corporate campaign called “Why Not?” (www.toyota.com/whynot). What struck me was not Toyota’s campaign itself, but the similarities this commercial and the subsequent website have shared with those of other corporations that have started these recent kicks to reduce waste and make themselves “better.” Lockheed-Martin is another major company that has started one of these global campaigns, theirs being called “How” (www.lockheedmartin.com/how). Many more corporations are now jumping on the bandwagon and launching their own campaigns to “do their part” for the environment and for people all over the world (some of these campaigns also include issues of the economy and putting human safety/life first). Even Apple, the computer maker whose superiority I tout on an almost daily basis, has become more environmentally friendly in the past few months. I’m not going to criticize the motives behind these campaigns, and I applaud these companies for jumping on the bandwagon, but we should remember not to give them a free pass just because they’ve deviated from their previous ways. Don’t buy into the fluff of commercials and posters that are produced with millions of dollars and professional media houses, showing the smiling men, women, and children that have become the epitome of corporate advertising and Americana. I don’t mean to give this the tone of an “I’m railing against the evil corporate machine” article, but what I’m saying is that we must remember to keep an eye on them and make sure that they make good on their promises to better the world. Also, we need to remember that there are many smaller companies and corporations that were transforming themselves long before these mega-corporations were doing so. The firm I’ve worked at has done environmentally friendly designs for nearly 25 years, long before the boom in green building. With the proliferation of hybrid cars and the term “green collar jobs,” going green has become the cool thing to do. However, I’m afraid that it might to go the way of all fads, much like the Tomagotchi. Hybrids are, in some respects, still considered to be somewhat exotic, when we should be working intensely to make them the standard (and eventually discard them for something that doesn’t need gasoline). We don’t need electric cars that cost $90,000 dollars – we need ones that cost $10,000 that can get people to and from work every day. Going green shouldn’t be the “cool,” “trendy,” “exclusive,” or “different” thing to do – it should be integrated into our society as the normal thing to do, as something that any person or family could do, and more importantly, as the right thing to do.
Tags: Environment , Green , Going Green , Toyota
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