Today was speaking to a lady that had a light bulb in her hand. It was a CFL blub. I ask her if she likes the CFL’s because they are very popular now. She said “not really they save energy but” … I said “they have mercury in them”… she said “Yes! I need to dispose of this one.” I said “Yes it is funny how some Green products have a non green aspect to them”. Though CFL’s are Green in the way that they save lots of energy, they can be toxic to the person or environment. LED’s, I told her, will soon be more in the mass market and affordable. The term Greenwashing came up.
As we move into another year and another presidential election, food for thought is: How Green is it? Greenwashing has been a common term used the past several years. It is important to know if it is indeed Greenwashing or just the technology as far as we have it, up til now. Though controversial CFL’s have saved people money and energy use, they have been the topic of much debate, but now that LED”s are coming into the market, the technology has been made much more Green. For me when shopping, that is an easy choice, buy the Greenest most non-toxic environmentally friendly product, I can. As most American’s, that is all we can do.
Greenwashing is a term used to describe a company is portraying themselves as Green while behind the scenes doing something detrimental to the environment, or marketing a product that claims it is more Green than it is. It’s a gray area for sure, but worth understanding. If we have only gotten so far in our technology then a product is as Green as it can be until technology progresses to being more Green. Taking into consideration a number of factors. Saying solar panels is Greenwashing is extreme in that technology is the best it can be to that point. However, dumping toxic chemicals in a river after producing a Green product would be Greenwashing. Producing energy by way of landfill is a great way to be Green, but if the products they are producing are toxic cleaning products that cause health issues in people that use them; and the manufacturer labels them Green because they were produced using Green energy, that is Greenwashing most especially since that manufacturer can use non-toxic alternatives to the toxic ones it chooses. (has nothing to do with lack of technology) Some of the products that I sell are not 100% Organic and the manufacturer is open and honest about why it is, that is not Greenwashing. Being transparent is of utmost importance so that people can make a informed decision. Know what’s in the products you buy. Hidden ingredients and behind the scene toxic coverups is not being transparent.
In 2002, during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the Greenwashing Academy hosted the Greenwash Academy Awards. The ceremony awarded companies like BP, ExxonMobil, and even the US Government for their elaborate greenwashing ads and support for greenwashing.Wikipedia
When choosing products that are Green, be aware that things aren’t always the way they are advertised to be. Read labels not just the elaborate markings on the label and know how to spot toxic chemicals. It takes time to check them out, but once you know if they are indeed Green you can purchase with confidence. I find it much easier to check the products out than to suffer the reactions my body has using so called Green products ( such as cleaning products). The benefits outweigh the time used for research.
As a consumer we have the power to make a difference in the marketing and manufacturing of future products. Every purchase we make is a statement to corporations. The Occupy Wall Street movement across the globe, is also a strong statement to corporations. The choices they make to control with financial investments, in not only the government, via presidential donations, but the fact that they also contribute, through lobbying, is slowing down the progress of technology that can make this a Greener, Healthier, Fair wage and equal opportunity planet for everyone.
So, when your buying products take into consideration that vast impact your purchase can make. The impact that product has on your health, your well being, the country you live in and the planet as a whole. You may think your minor purchase can’t make that big of a difference, but if you multiply that by millions of people then it is a huge impact on the world.
Living sustainably has never been more important as we step into the next generation of world leaders. It has been an amazing year watching masses of people who have finally had enough speak out and cause a massive Wave across the world. Let’s end Greenwashing, corporate lobbying and work together to end a toxic unfair world that only caters to the 1%. We the 99% can make a difference!