Starting every year around April 1, I start getting PR emails from companies wanting me to pitch their products in time for Earth Day, coming up on April 22. Last year I listed 7 Examples Of What Earth Day Isn’t About, and this year the hits keep coming. From “eco” trips requiring around-the-world flights to battery-powered candles to the Utah Board of Oil, Gas, & Mining Earth Day Awards (PDF), Earth Day has become a prime example of the corporate hijacking of a worldwide event which was started with only good intentions. It has become an annual event on par with Black Friday and Christmas, designed to sell and promote as much junk consumerism as possible all in the name of profits. Earth Day is now synonymous with the phrase “Celebrate the Earth by buying…,” as that is the single most common phrase that shows up at least 15 times a day in my email inbox from marketers; as such, Earth Day has become one giant greenwashing event.
No matter what any green blogs try to sell us “in honor of Earth Day”, we cannot shop our way to a cleaner planet. If you don’t need an item, buying it for the sake of Earth Day isn’t going to do anything to help the environment. Period. These marketers will try everything to get you to part with your hard-earned money in support of the planet, but don’t fall for it. If you truly want to do something in honor of the one day a year dedicated to the only home planet we have, try out a few of these ideas:
Before buying something supposedly sold in support of the Earth, keep in mind that a vast majority of the things we buy are made from raw materials mined from the earth, often assembled by child labor, and usually imported all the way from China. While we all need to shop for the things we want from time to time, consuming products under the guise of “Earth Day” is an oxymoron.
And if you are a green journalist or blogger and receiving all these PR emails, write back to the PR agency and tell them what you think of their greenwashing attempts. Don’t fall for their motives of using Earth Day to sell product for profit. I have a template that I send right back to any agent trying to get me to greenwash for their client. If it changes one mind, I feel I have succeeded.
It’s time to take back Earth Day and restore it to its original intention — “For over 40 years, Earth Day has inspired and mobilized individuals and organizations worldwide to demonstrate their commitment to environmental protection and sustainability.” Let’s do just that.
Photo by Xanetia
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