Saturday, March 29, 2008

Black is the New Green

Groggy, eyes half-closed, sipping a scalding coffee, going to check some sites I seem to have developed a dependence upon, and Google wants to mess with my world by getting all Earthy on my homepage. It's all a part of Earth Hour.

Great effort. Got me to blog about it, so disarming was it to see my Google page all darkened. It's almost guerrillaesque in a simple, shocking way.

So I click the link to find out what's it about.

Yawn. Another self-satisfied half-stab at creating "awareness" for conservation.

Yes, let's have everyone turn off their lights for an hour tonight in a symbolic gesture of "acknowledging our commitment to energy conservation." And then we can all feel good about ourselves because we...acknowledged our commitment to energy conservation?

Yeah, that should do it.

I don't want to start a war with the Church of Global Warming or get into a debate with the Eco-Police or demean the work of all the Green Teamers, but your efforts are wasted.

I was at a grocery store yesterday and a nicely dressed woman was loading her bags into a nicely waxed, high-end, late model sedan. She had those burlap eco-bags that you bring with you every time you shop. I'm sure she thought she was "doing her part for the environment," but it won't mean a thing until you ban plastic grocery bags and issue burlap grocery bags to every citizen. Or even easier: charge shoppers ten cents per plastic bag.

I hear PSAs on the radio urging homeowners to only water their lawns on the days designated by the county. But until the Sprinkler Police start issuing citations to people like my neighbor who waters his lawn all the time - even when it's raining - the people will continue to waste water.

You drive a hybrid? Nice. Feel better now? Great. Guess what? It didn't help. Until the government stops kissing the asses of Saudi Arabia and bailing out Detroit, nothing will change. If your motivation to buy a hybrid was to save on your monthly gasoline bill, then good on you. Just don't pretend you're doing something "for the Earth."

Given a choice, the majority of the population will not sacrifice. A few idealists will, and those few idealists will get frustrated and angry with the majority for not helping, hoping to shame them into helping. And the majority won't feel ashamed; they'll just feel indignant and pissed off at the idealists for being so arrogant. They'll help when they're punished in the wallet for not helping.

That's how it works. Sorry.

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  • Yeah, these efforts tend to be semi-bullshit, like advertising agencies supporting cultural causes as a means to cleanse their corporate souls. In this case, Leo Burnett is a key contributor. As a Chicagoan, I’m seeing the campaign materials all over the place, and I fully expect LB to submit the work for awards shows in the coming year. Hell, the Google move was probably hatched over drinks between a Google account executive and a Publicis-based media wonk. Here’s another realist perspective from down under.

    By Blogger HighJive, at March 29, 2008 at 1:37 PM  

  • We actually had some fun during "Earth Hour", although I've probably accelerated the death of my eyeballs by trying to read bedtime stories to my children by candlelight.

    I don't expect it did much besides lower my electricity bill a few cents, though. (And that is always one of my underlying motivations to eco-things... greed and thriftiness!)

    By Anonymous Erica, at April 4, 2008 at 3:57 PM  

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