Friday, May 29, 2009

Green is the new Black... break out your jackboots.

This is was actually taken from an ad sent to me in an email today:

"Green's the new black…
But not everyone can walk the walk. Don't be that guy. "

I seem to remember one of the defining characteristics of the 80's being the mantra of "Just Say No" and the underlying message that peer-pressure was wrong and something to be resisted.

Nowadays however it seems to me that social pressure has been re-purposed. A decade of Fear is giving way to an atmosphere of being pushy. I find myself on the receiving end of an awful lot of 'priceless advice' these days. Raised eyebrows are usually the response I get when I bother to ask a question.

For example, I regularly get a nasty-gram from an office manager because I will not opt-in for electronic check-stubs and I still have them printed and delivered to me. She is the one who does that delivery. The bi-weekly email includes the imperative "Go Green!".

I asked her which she thought was worse - burning coal to generate electrons to power all the computers in the network every time I access that information for the rest of eternity - or the industrial pollution involved in putting a piece of paper in a file-folder in my file-cabinet.

In reponse to that I get a dirty-look. I have erred twice apparently in that I both asked her to Think about something she didn't care about and exposed the fact that it is only about the convenience of her not having to deliver those stubs to everyone every other week.

Let us be clear - I am not condoning being wasteful of resources. In a society where we have made disposible objects out of materials that last thousands of years and we have done so for decades - radical shifts in policy need to happen.

My problem is that the sorts of changes that are being sold to people are an illusion of control. When you really think things through - like flourescent lights replacing incandescent lights - we find that there are entirely new issues that no one thought through - like the mercury in those lamps that now will end up in all of the landfills.

It seems however that anything that is truly revolutionary is still considered to be "hippy bullshit" even when it is proven to work. Until you can buy it at WalMart, it seems that a large segment of the American public has a huge Blind Spot.

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