The Greenwashing of America

Colorado Springs – I received a couple emails yesterday from a friend in New Mexico, pleading for people to protect the environment. I got the impression that my Deaf friend had suddenly understood the light that is clouded by pollution around the world. It was his newfound passion dripping through in his many emails about the environment and what’s being done (or not) to save our Earth that compelled me to write about greenwashing.

At first, I wanted to email my Deaf friend back and explain to him that not everything is what it seems. Ethanol, many Americans seem to think, is a cure-all to our country’s dependence on oil. That may seem logical to think, but what many people don’t understand is the fact that ethanol producers tend to grow corn, and of all the crops currently utilized for production of biofuels, corn generally encourages more pollution (think of all the fertilizer that farmers require; think of the water resources needed to grow corn; think of all the gas/diesel that tractors require; and all that to make what is essentially moonshine.)

I suspect my Deaf friend is somewhat late to the environmentalism aspect of our society, but people are slowly starting to understand the consequences of many corporations’ efforts at trying to promote “green” products/services or approaches that end up contributing to pollution – still. In Aspen, the environmental engineer there had this to say about the Aspen Ski Area’s attempt at being increasingly”green” in it’s marketing and operational focuses:

“Who are we kidding?” he says. Despite all his exertions, the resort’s greenhouse-gas emissions continue to creep up year after year. More vacationers mean larger lodgings burning more power. Warmer winters require tons of additional artificial snow, another energy drain. “I’ve succeeded in doing a lot of sexy projects yet utterly failed in what I set out to do,” he said. “How do you really green your company? It’s almost f—— impossible.”

Greenwashing

For many of us long involved in environmental and corporate issues, we’ve long known the hypocrisy of ethanol production in terms of environmental pollution. What many others in the general public, including my Deaf friend, seem to not be aware of is the term, “greenwash.” Greenwash is simply the marketing efforts of a corporation aimed at promoting allocation of significantly more money or time spent advertising being green (environmentally friendly), when in fact, the corporation acts in the opposite way.

In fact, one critic has stated that ethanol production will do more harm to the environment than good, and yet, many Americans jumped on the ethanol bandwagon without understanding the consequences of ethanol production. Corn farmers and other ethanol producers have been loudly proclaiming the biofuel as a healthy alternative to fossil fuels, such as oil and gasoline – in otherwords, they are engaging in greenwashing Americans into believing ethanol is the one of the better alternatives to fossil fuels.

Today’s modern corporation is focused on selling and marketing itself as an environmentally-friendly organization that consumers can buy products that they believe will help the environment. Sadly, the stark truth remains that few corporations exist that are completely green from top to bottom simply because of the nature of being in business (it’s virtually impossible to make a profit while protecting the environment completely). Greenwashing has prevented many Americans from understanding fully how and why renewable fuels are currently so difficult and expensive to produce, and yet many continue to jump on the ethanol bandwagon in misguided attempts at protecting our Earth.

Algae as a biofuel

I bet you didn’t even know that algae may be one of the better alternatives to both ethanol and fossil fuels. That’s right – algae. Studies demonstrating algae production reflect the fact that algae is far easier to grow than corn (for ethanol production) and without as much environmental waste and damage. Factories in Arizona and New Mexico are beginning to use algae to trap and consume carbon dioxide emissions from plants to create biofuels from algae.

So, why haven’t we heard more about algae? Well, probably because most of the special interest groups that exist and circulate around environmental issues are funded by ethanol producers (such as corn growers), as well as biofuel distributors. As algae is further refined, other alternative fuels may also become available without the high costs passed onto the environment.

The next time you see a corporation advertise itself as “eco-friendly,” or a “green” corporation, it may be worth your time to dig deeper to make sure that greenwashing isn’t taking place. Don’t be fooled by all those marketing gimmicks out there – for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction, especially in the environment.

If you really want to help preserve the environment, then it may include a greater understanding of the costs and consequences of many of the proposed alternatives to fossil fuels. I won’t be rushing to pump ethanol into my truck anytime soon, and instead, will eagerly await how the algae plants may help solve at least a portion of our energy problems here in the United States.

And by the way, you should know that in Brazil, they produce biofuels using sugar cane. Sounds good until you begin considering the rain forests have a new threat to their existence: alternative fuel producers (sugar cane growers). Imagine creating alternative fuels that promote poverty in Brazil – all in the name of greenwashing.

Finally, to my Deaf friend in New Mexico – you’re on the right track. Keep digging and learning as much as you can to be an informed and educated consumer. Don’t fall victim to greenwashing attempts by major corporations who pretend to be eco-friendly and add to the pollution of the world. We can save our Earth, but only through diligence, knowledge and an understanding that the drive to find renewable fuels that do not harm the Earth will be a long-term and on-going process.

Have a great Tuesday.

:)

Paotie

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Posted at 11:15 PM under Crumblings of Stuffs. Follow responses through the comments feed, Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your site.


Comments

Wow, you got nice website! I like it your idea to help and educate deaf people to be aware what’s going on in the U.S. and the rest of the world. I am surprising that you posted my comment about the environment (planet and animals). Thank you, dude for posting mine in the blog. Yep, we need do something solve the problems in the world with planet and animals. You can check it out in the CNN – “Planet in Peril” http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2007/planet.in.peril/

I have so many interesting subjects about the environment – planet and animals. I’ll post more soon today!

Deaf Powers!,
Joey

Joey

Forgot one more! Thanks for tell me about greenwash. That’s interesting to me, too. ; )

Joey

I want to educate all deaf people about cruelty experiment on animals. The is so WRONG and Unethically. That animals are suffering in the cruelty tests in the present time. You can check it out the website. I do bet that it really is huge impacting on you and thinking about stop buying the products from idiot companies. http://www.stopanimaltests.com/index.aspx

Joey

Don’t forget all the methanol created by feeding all the livestock the corn. Methanol is a serious pollutant.

boomer doc

hey, what a great post! is it ok if we take a few paragraphs and post it on ecodeaf.blogspot.com with a direct link to your site to finish the whole article. i’m totally on the same page as you, however, sometimes it helps with the transition of people from totally non-green to somewhat green (e.g. aspen, ethanol) to aha! green (thumbs down to ethanol and ski areas in general). i know i’m somewhat green in some areas and now i’m more aha! green in some areas. there’s so much to learn and so little time. do you think this helps with the transition or just muddles up the ground between non-green and totally green? sorry if i’m not making sense… am typing this after just 3 hours of sleep :)

raychelle

Raychelle ..

Yes – go ahead and take a few paragraphs and post the link to ecodeaf.blogspot.

I’m glad you found this article interesting – I have Joey to thank for it.

I think it helps people to see both coins of an issue (to put things in simple terms) so that they can make educated guesses/decisions about their world. Of course, an issue like the environment is a very complex issue, and trying to understand it all can be overwhelming at times.

I think if anything, articles like mine and others can spark interest in “non-green” people. We can’t control what people think – we can only offer them our perspectives, information we find, and opinions about issues involving our world. That is what makes America so great – our ability to take action ourselves.

I prefer to lead by example rather than preaching by example. My old 1977 RamCharger is a pollution hazard (LOL) due to it’s rust and the occasional oil leak; but in a collective and cumulative sense, we work hard to recycle our trash, and we only buy organic items and especially those that we’ve found to be genuinely anti-animal testing (especially for women’s make-up), and we order milk that is delivered to our doorstep from a local dairy which doesn’t inject antibiotics and hormones into their cattle.

But, I’m also a hypocrite: we have a modern SUV that we’re stuck with for a while. We have a large house that we try to heat with firelogs from Wild Oats, which are supposed to be friendlier (and more expensive) than other firelogs in terms of the environment. And I love NASCAR, which probably does quite a lot of damage to the environment than is stated.

So, in my eyes, I try to lead by example. We had a neighbor who asked about our recycling of the trash we produce (plastics, papers/cardboard, othe recyclables such as aluminum), and they became recyclers as well. Our neighbor has also been reading and researching more about environmental issues and talking with us about them, so in a sense, we’re opening our neighbors’ minds by example.

Of course, what started the conversation with our neighbor was my comment that I was surprised that people watered their lawns during the afternoon in Colorado. In New Mexico, if you tried to water your yard during the summer afternoon, you would be derisively chided by people (mostly through stares and shaking of heads). In some instances, you can receive fines for watering at the wrong time and day. So I asked my neighbor and as we got to talking, she expressed an interest in saving money for her water bills, as well as other things.

Sooo .. hope that helps. Sorry for the rambling rant (LOL).

Glad you liked it and I’ll check out your blog soon (after I bitch out Google).
:)

Paotie

Paotie

boomer doc ..

Yup. There’s probably countless other hazards that go along with the processing of cattle for dairy and meat products that are not necessarily healthy for human or environment.

You know, people can make a difference by taking the time to understand what products they’re buying, rather than accepting what marketing programs on TV, radio and the internet (among other mediums) tell people. It’s a lot like the drug companies who are forever telling us we have certain, undiagnosed conditions that a pretty little pill can cure. If we all believed every drug company, we’d all need Viagra and would all be sitting around internet blogs, pissing and moaning – literally.

Bad puns aside, people can help by not giving corporations their money if they know that certain anti-environmental practices exist. It’s called political consumerism and is probably the way of the future.

Anyway, back to cussing and bitching at Google.
:)

Paotie

Paotie

Joey ..

Glad you found the web site! Any time you want to post a link or comment about what you’ve discovered, post them here if you want. I like your approach, too.

And, glad to help out a fellow Aggie any time!
:)

Paotie

Paotie

Ahhh, Thank all of you for support the friendly environment and friendy animals.

I’ll check out ecodeaf.blogspot.com sooner! Thanks Raychelle for feedback to me!

Yep, Boomer Doc, cows cause pollutant – methanol. that’s true. There is (should be!) an alternative that it COULD BE transforms to biofuel. Need to think something what do with it….. Hmmmm (my hand is rubbing on my chin). I will see what I can do with Methanol. (searching in the google!)

Have any of you known or heard about the A.L.F. and E.L.F.??? I am telling you that they are very aggresive and highly protective all the animals and environment. The F.B.I. dept. is watching them all the times cuz A.L.F. and E.L.F.really are daring do something rude awaking to businesses. They really did good damagin’ many many unethic businesses. They are trying to exposing the factiods to all of us to see what’s going on with illegal businesses’ activities dumping toxic in the river and abusing animals, etc., etc., etc.

A.L.F.’s URL address is http://animalliberationfront.com/index.html

And E.L.F. address is http://www.earthliberationfront.com/

I’ll post it, many different friendly non-profit organinzations more later on…

Deaf Powers!

Joey

You mean setting that building on fire here in Colorado, right? Yea, that really helps the environment. They did claim responsibility for that, you know?

**Takes Lord’s name in vain**

Wanna save the environment? Stop junk mail. I get a pre-approved credit card application from Capital One every damn day. Every damn day I shred said application. In ittie-bittie print on bottom of the application is a phone number one can call to end receiving the applications. It costs $6. WTF? If ELF/ALF wants to make a difference and save some trees, and the fuel that it takes to transport junk mail, they should focus on that.

You get all types.

Hi there Stacy,

Yes I know I read it in the internet, they did claiming that they are responsibility for setting fire.

I never thought about that. Why not contact to E.L.F. by yourself? Heh.

Joey

I try and stay away from radicals. Although I hate Ed Begley Jr.’s politics, the guy deserves a cabinet position. He practices what he preaches.

Likewise, I am staying away from radical groups such as ALF and ELF, so Ed Begley, too. Yes, he should be in the cabinet office. But he has not run it yet, though… Al Gore got an fancy award, Noble Prize recently. He should be running for the U.S. President.

All I want is conversative and set a good example – role model to people about environment, ecosystem, and mammals. Education is the key to break all ole bad habit people. That’s tough task to do. How to break old bad habit is teaching kids in the school about environmentalist beliefs. That way, when the kids grown up in the future, they will know what’s right and not right. Long way to complete it to become the best friendly environmentalist.

Geez! I still am eating meats! I need to stop eat crappy meats! I am too addicting to meats. Sorry can’t help! Grind… I will try to eat Vegan. Organic sounds good but it toooooo expensive to buy some foods! And organic foods really taste strange, too! : )

Deaf Powers,
Joey

Joey

I am wondering where do I find a new topic in the blog? I want to talk about Nostradamus: The Lost Book. Haven’t you watch it in the History Channel last Sunday night?
Very interesting about Nostradamus’ predictions! I never knew him in my entire life until last Sunday I learned something new from Nostradamus. My hair was standing up! Very Eerie prediction that the world is about to end very soon in Dec. 21th, 2012! Who knows… I do feel that it’s goona be happen soon! Cuz it really is happening in the world right now similar to Nostradamus predicted it a long long time ago before our time. How come he knew that it’s gonna be happen here right now??? Very spooky!

You can check it out here!

Joey

Hey, thanks for that article paotie. I had no idea about greenwashing as a concept until i read your article. I suspected that most companies that say they are ‘green’ are full of shit. It’s all about public relations for them and the bottom dollar. So, it’s nice to see that my pessimism was actually on the nose for once.

Hey Joey, i have actually read several books on Nostradamus and i watched a discovery channel episode several months back about him. Nostradamus is highly controversial because of the elusiveness of his predictions. Were they deliberately hidden or just mere conjecture based upon past patterns of human history? One can see how nostradamus could be a genius simply by observing human nature and human history and using that as a template to predict future events in human history. That’s how i am looking at nostradamus in any case. As for his prediction on when the world ends on dec 21 2012, the mayan calander also ends on the year 2012 and alot of people have taken that to be the end of the world.

But hey, you know what? They also said the y2k bug was gonna end human civilization as we know it, and look were we are now.

Dennis

Dennis ..

Your comment about Y2K made me chuckle. I remember people buying generators because they thought we’d succumb to a world-war and nuclear holocaust – all because of a few bits and bytes, and binary numbers.

I still remember it like yesterday, too. The moon was blue that night in El Paso, and the hours and minutes ticked by slowly at first, and then with about 15 minutes until midnight, time flew. And then it was over.

So, I went home, disappointed.

*giggles*

Too bad Nostradamus wasn’t interested in sports!
:)

Paotie

Paotie

hahah yeah. Come 2011 the media is gonna hype the crap out of that, you just watch. Then everyone is gonna wake up pissed the next day because they have to go to work hung over because the world didn’t end. In any case, new years 2012 i’m gonna party like its the year 1 thousand nine hundred and nintey nine!

Dennis

I found neat website “Change the world”. there are so many ideas how to change the world with polluntions, end the oil dependence, alternative the enegry, and many!
You can check out cool website, http://www.change.org/
This is A MUST SEE IT!

Yep Dennis, that’s amazing mystery one! Try to look at it harder little bit more and read the Nostradamus book hundred times (repeatly). Maybe you could find the facts – ending the world.
Who knows… : / I still like the Nostradamus anyway! I like tough challenge thinking in many mysteries. Yes in Mexico, the Mayan said that will end the world in Dec 21th, 2012. I see the world everyday. I never knew Nostradamus before until last Sunday I watched Nostradamus The Lost Book. I relaized that it’s really happening fits to present time from the past time. I am following my own eyes and gut that it tells me something not right in the world right now such as oil, war, regilion conflicts, polluntion out of control, greedy, sex slaves, sweat shops, violence increases, and so many go wrong. I do feel that it will be ending the world someday… I am not perfect person. Just following my heart, eyes, and gut.

Yeah hahaha, I remembered Y2K in 1999 into 2000. I did prepared for it. I was sucker that did not happen during the Y2K that I overbought foods and water. Wasted my money, I never forget that, heh!

Deaf Powers,
Joey

Joey

That’s right I did hung over really awful that day after Y2K. So I did smoke weed, too. Not again wasted my money.

Joey

JOEY!?!

SHAME ON YOU!

I was with an ex-girlfriend who’s father religiously and absolutely was convinced we were all gonna die. I admit I got a little creeped out when the moon (which was a full moon that night in El Paso) looked .. blue. And then I think it turned red. Well, I don’t remember what friggin’ color the moon was but it was weird, okay?

I prefer to carry the Yellow Pages over my head on New Year’s Eve cos once in Albuquerque, a bullet crashed through the roof of a man sitting in his recliner as he watched Dick Clark’s annual New Year’s Ball Drop (is that the title?) in New York. And the bullet landed right next to him.

Creepy.
:)

Paotie

Paotie

Wow! I never thought that Hemp is friendly evironment! It makes many products — hemp oil for the lotion, the hemp stem for the shoes and clothes. Hemp seeds for eat almost like a sunflower & pumpkin seeds.

Why hemp still is illegal in the U.S.? Remember in the 1930′s they probated the whiskey and right now they are legal because they pay taxes. Someday hemp will be legal in the near future.

Joey

That’s right, Shame on me for smoke hemp. I am not really crazy about smoke hemp. Just for relaxing and tame from the stress out.

Joey

Joey,

Did you know that diesel was originally created from peanut oil?

Did you know that Henry Ford tried to use hemp as a biofuel?

Here’s an interesting article about biofuels and hemp that you might enjoy.

Here’s a sample of that web site’s article that might stoke your interest:

“The history of biofuel is more political and economical than technological. The process for making fuel from biomass feedstock used in the 1800′s is basically the same one used today. It was the influences of the industrial magnates during the 1920′s and 1930′s on both the politics and economics of those times that created the foundation for our perceptions today.”

And, Joey, hemp isn’t the same thing as marijuana. You can’t smoke hemp. If people could smoke hemp, stores that sell hemp clothing, paper and other items would consistently be deluged and always sold-out.

Here’s an article explaining the difference between hemp and marijuana.

Happy readings, dude.

How’s Cruces? Warm, I bet ..

*sighs*
:)

Paotie

Paotie