Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Anti-Environment Snobs

Snippy, snotty and snobby. That was the attitude of the NY Times Sunday Design section March 16 in a sophomoric effort to be considered cool while advocating environmentally positive products.

First up was the "Samurai Shopper" with a piece on green cleaning products. Using the cheap--and unimaginative--writing technique of setting up a straw person who is then oh so easy to knock down, S.S. Fair made sure we knew that "eco-maniacs are no fun" before dishing out information on eco-friendly toilet bowl cleaner. Gee, and here I go out of my way looking for eco-maniacs to befriend. Thanks for the correction!

Writer Alex Kuczynski followed with an otherwise rather interesting piece about the use of old wood in upscale homes. He found it necessary to have his interview subject tell us that people who buy old wood in an effort to save old-growth forests probably have showers "that run 20 gallons a minute" and therefore aren't "really saving the environment," are they?

Well, pardon you for your stereotypes and both writers for their inability to take seriously the effort necessary to save our planet in reasonably good shape for generations to come.

It is not maniacal to search for and use green products. It's just a plainly responsbile way of living. Let's applaud people--and ourselves--who make positive changes and then hope we can act to do more. Substantial change is the goal, not perfection.

Dissing people who are trying to live gently on the planet is just plain anti-social. Get over it, Alex and Ms. Samurai!

Meanwhile, if you want to understand why so many products sold in the U.S. contain dangerous chemicals, have a look at an excerpt from Mark Schapiro's Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What's At Stake for American Power."

1 comment:

davidpsibek said...

I agree with this sentiment. It seems that in popular culture's indifferent, we love an easy target mentality you can always expect a few to locate anything new and different in their sights. I guess we all do it to some extent. I remember my reaction to the new hip-hop look a few years back (I still haven’t gotten it).

However, I am not comfortable with this hostile outlook particularly when we are talking about environmental initiatives. If you have faith in real science, environmental action equals taking rational stock of dire planetary circumstances and taking action. People should lighten up a bit. Seeking out solutions to critical environmental issues is not about being “different” or about one upping the field. It is about survival, working together, building community and solutions. I am not an “environmentalist, I am a survivalist.