Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Killing The Planet on Earth Day

So it’s Earth Day, and the Polar Bear is still at risk, the planet is still warming, and developing countries are using more natural resources and polluting more than ever before.

So what is worth celebrating? Capitalism! Mainstreaming and commercializing of the “earth agenda.”

Every company from cars to soda is marketing a organic, energy efficient, low carbon foot print creating, products. It's like Santa in stores at Christmas, Hallmark Cards at Valentines day or Corona beer at Cinco De Mayo.

There are plenty of examples of this run amok; the ethanol disaster comes to mind, where the generally held belief is that it is having a more negative impact on the earth then positive.

Basically it's because Ethanol doesn't burn cleaner than gasoline, and it consumes twenty percent of the entire U.S. corn crop, causing the price of corn and everything from corn starch to corn oil - to double.

Another good example – of the way saving the earth has been commercialized and it comes from something that happened to me on Saturday at Trader Joe’s. I was walking into the store – when I saw a huge honking black SUV drive into the parking lot. A woman on her cell phone got out opened the back of the truck and pulled out a few reusable grocery bags – and went into the store.

The fact that someone could be conscious enough to use the re-usable bags but still drive a huge SUV shows that saving the earth is still just something people do when it is convenient. If gas does go up to five dollars a gallon will this woman – or all SUV owners park their trucks and look for alternatives? Not likely, but even if they do it’s because they can’t afford it, not because they want to help the earth.

When I was in China I saw the effect of the pollution on the Beijing skyline. There was simply a gray brown haze over the city at all times, when it rained the rain pulled dirt out of the air and coated everything in a brown sludge.

It’s a nation in the middle of its industrial revolution, a city growing as fast as it can, much like now dead mill cities here in the states, where factories up and down rivers belched smoke and poured chemicals into the river.

So what can we look as we approach the 40 anniversary of Earth Day in 2010? Simply that things may get so bad, that we can’t afford to ignore the problem, but who knows if we’ll even be able to make a change once we get to that point.


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