For the past 3 weeks, I have received at least 15-20 press releases or PR pitches per day in honor of Earth Day. Some of these have been legitimate, but most of them have been greenwashed garbage, designed to get some green blogger to pimp an absolutely NOT eco-friendly item or company to the masses. I try as best I can to avoid just rewriting press releases as original postings, but occasionally I will use a really good one as the basis of a post about something I think is relevant to the site and you guys might find interesting. However, the deluge of ridiculous press that I have received lately is just so overwhelming that I just had to share some of them. They all start with either “Hello (space), ” or “Hello blogger“, and have the exact same first sentence – “In honor of Earth Day, we hope you will find this XYZ worthy of a mention on your site“. So, in honor of Earth Day, I wanted to show some examples of what Earth Day is not about at all, and to show you how companies are trying to cash in on “going green” – even if they aren’t doing anything of the sort. The regular text is the actual text from the emails, and the italics are my own comments.
Example #1 – Glass Atlas is a glass dome on top of an artistic image of a specific region or area of the Earth from an outer space view. It comes in a variety of available images, from the sea surface to the Grand Canyon, Italy and many more. The authentic NASA satellite images provide a cool new way to enjoy the gorgeous view of the Earth. Each Glass Atlas is beautifully packaged in a unique eco-friendly wooden crate and comes complete with a small fact sheet about the specific image you’ve chosen. This is not “green”, this is a tchotchke.
Example #2 – Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs approximately 140,000 people worldwide. With the incredible reach of Lockheed Martin’s network, the organization is capitalizing on the opportunity to reach hundreds of thousands of individuals – starting with their employees, families and communities – so that as a corporation, they can make a big impact one small action at a time. I am wondering how “green” their jet engines and missiles are while they are killing people in far away lands.
Example #3 – The Nuo Tech environmentally-friendly collection is constructed of eco-friendly materials such as water and vegetable-based dyed cotton/canvas and synthetic leather materials. The materials do not contain harmful AZO dyes or PVC and are RoHS compliant (Restriction of Hazardous Substances). Note – water in and of itself is not “eco-friendly” and neither is synthetic leather that has no informational backup.
Example #4 – I don’t remember where it came from, and I cannot find the original email, but it was to win a trip to Washington to go to an Earth Day celebration. Wouldn’t it better for the earth to go to one in your own town, rather than fly to Washington to attend one?
Example #5 – Avon Products, Inc. has launched Hello Green Tomorrow, a unique global grassroots mobilization in over 65 countries worldwide. The first goal of this environmental movement is to restore trees in the Atlantic Rainforest, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. Sounds great, right? It is…but you know what would be even better? Avon making safe products in the first place, so after we use their stuff it doesn’t go and kill off the trees they just planted.
Example #6 – Touting its new tagline Go greener(SM), TruGreen, the nation’s largest professional lawn care service, today launched an initiative to help educate Americans on how unlocking their passion for their lawns can also positively impact the environment. TruGreen is the exclusive U.S. organic and sustainable lawn and landscape care sponsor of Earth Day Network. (TruGreen is/was ChemLawn, that company that always has their trucks full of chemicals parked in front of your neighbors sparkling green lawn. Thankfully, they were dropped from being an Earth Day sponsor, and rightfully so.)
Example #7 – Kiawah Island Golf Resort announced that its second annual Earth Day celebration takes place on April 24, 2010 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Night Heron Park. The Kiawah Island Earth Fest features local vendors selling eco-friendly products, artists showcasing works based on the environment and live entertainment. Cool, right? Read on. This event coincides with the Kiawah Island Community Association’s “Cars in the Park” event showcasing rare, antique and exotic cars from all over the world. In addition to The Sanctuary, the resort’s 255-room oceanfront hotel and spa, the resort manages 600 private villas and luxury homes, nine restaurants, two tennis centers, a renowned recreation and nature program and has five championship golf courses, including The Ocean Course, host of the 1991 Ryder Cup, the 2007 Senior PGA and 2012 PGA championships. Not sure that selling some eco-friendly products on one day of the year makes up for the 600 private villas and private homes, 9 restaurants, and 5 golf courses spread across “10 miles of pristine beach”.
Earth Day should be every day – not one out of 365. Don’t let these companies fool you into thinking that they care, as these are just PR stunts designed to make you believe they are “going green” when usually they are anything but. Keep those eyes wide open for the greenwash, and be sure to hold people accountable when they try to pull one over on you!