Eco-Charlatans on Earth Day 2012

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Earth Day 2012 is coming up on us fast and furious (it’s April 22), and before it gets here I wanted to offer up my advice for making the most of it. Before you attend a festival that requires air travel to get to, collect plastic doo-dad favors at an Earth Day fairs, or buy products emblazoned with “Earth Day 2012” on them, think about what Earth Day really means. It is a day set aside to honor our home planet in a way that respects nature and does no harm. If we can’t do that on this day, when can we do it?

In the coming weeks, you are going to start seeing marketing messages on “green” websites and in the news media encouraging you to Go Green for Earth Day 2012. These messages will convince you that you need to spend your money on eco products that you don’t even need or want. They will be very persuasive and you will feel the need to spend your hard-earned money on a new “green” this or an “eco” that in order to honor the earth and Earth Day. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that buying much of anything on a day dedicated to Earth is to do the exact opposite of what needs to be done. You cannot honor the earth and our environment by consuming, shopping, buying, or taking crap you don’t need. That only does harm.

In 2009 I encouraged readers to Do One Thing: For Earth Day, Buy Nothing and last year I said that Earth Day is not a Holiday for Shopping. I stand by those past statements and use this year’s post for Earth Day to remind you of this. We cannot shop our way out of the climate crisis, period. If the eco-charlatans writing in blogs, magazines, and newspapers, and appearing on TV, try to convince you that we can, they are wrong.

If your favorite “green” website or blog is encouraging you to shop for Earth Day, find another website to go to for your environmental news.

If your local town has an Earth Day event with bands and healthy foods, by all means attend it. Learn about solar panels or organic gardening. Teach your kids something valuable. If your town is holding a clean-up event in honor of Earth Day 2012, please do help cleaning up some trash. But leave Earth Day at that. Buying products or collecting plastic favors in honor of the Earth is exactly the wrong thing to do on this day.

Make Earth Day 2012 a truly green day, especially since we have such difficulty making every other day that way. That’s the best way to celebrate.

Image by BigStockPhoto

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