Greenwash Of The Week: Earth Day?

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It pains me to say it, but Earth Day has become a gigantic greenwashing event. The other day I wrote about 7 Examples Of What Earth Day Isn’t About, but the hits keep coming. Adam over at Twilight Earth published a press release from shopping giant QVC that is basically about buying your way to “green”. I have gotten, on average, 15 PR emails a day for the last month or so trying to convince me that if I buy this, that, or the other thing, my Earth Day will be greener. From buying t-shirts in exchange for planting a tree to sending your parents an eco-friendly Earth Day card to the whopper of the week – a snowglobe with an earth inside it – companies are trying to make Earth Day into yet one more shopping day where the only way to participate is to buy more junk. This is exactly the opposite of what Earth Day was started for in the first place 40 years ago, and we have to claim it back before it turns into a Federal holiday.

As much as I would love for every day to be Earth Day around the world, we have a ways to go before everyone realizes just how much damage we do to our planet on a daily basis. So let’s use this day to educate and inform people… not go shopping. Know how you can really help Earth Day? Attend a clean up event in your community, go to a school and teach about sustainability, try out the local farmers market instead of heading to the big box grocery store. But you cannot buy a t-shirt or gadget and make a greener Earth Day. Don’t let Earth Day become a greenwash!

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Comments

  1. It’s really really bothering me. It’s become a huge mess and is a lot about buying more crap.

    I asked my kid yesterday if they talking about it and the environment in school and she said no – to me that would be the perfect use of it … use Earth Day to educate the kids about the environment.

  2. You are absolutely right David, the event is about sustainability, not consumption. Sadly, many just see it as a great opportunity to make a few bucks! A snowglobe…really? Brutal!

  3. How sad. I watched a PBS special the other night called Earth Days about how Earth Day came to be and it amazed me at what a huge grassroots movement it was. Too bad corporate America thinks of it as another “holiday” in which they can sell us stuff nowadays.

  4. Many forget that Earth Day started as a teaching day. However, I don’t necessarily begrudge a company for debuting a truly environmentally friendly product or service, or offering a coupon or discount on it’s purchase around Earth Day because maybe it’s the incentive for someone to make a first time purchase or try something a little more environmentally friendly than they normally would. Because of an Earth Day event last year I found some local sources for recycling and reusing a few items I didn’t know existed in my city. Good thing I could get them out of my house so I could never consider using them again.

  5. Hi David. We’re wrestling with how to prevent dot eco domain names from being used for greenwash. Any thoughts or ideas. Giving people quality signposts on how to be and who or what is green is a real challenge.

  6. How sad. I watched a PBS special the other night called Earth Days about how Earth Day came to be and it amazed me at what a huge grassroots movement it was. Too bad corporate America thinks of it as another “holiday” in which they can sell us stuff nowadays.

  7. Hi David, that’s a common misconception. Actually the ‘registry’ or group that runs .eco, or any domain name ending for that matter, can set whatever rules they want.

    ICANN is proposing a new type of ‘community’ domain name, that would actually require more detailed rules. Including ones for eligibility, content, use and domain name selection.

    If you like, I can email you a PDF and link to our third draft rules for dot eco. Would be great to get your thoughts.

  8. Such true statement. I am opening a twitter account just to share this kind of information with people.

    On the other note, I don’t know if you are aware but I see a TNC ad right in the middle of this page (right next to this post). Ain’t that funny… they don’t even pay attention to what blog they post ads on, as long as it’s a “green” blog.

    Keep speaking the truth!

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