Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day?

Shopping Our Way to Safety: Sociology professor Andrew Szasz says 'buying green' may be lulling consumers into a false sense of security

A good article citing Sociologist Andrew Szasz regarding 'buying green' and false sense of security.

Bottom line: if we are to sincerely address environmental issues, we have got to focus on large scale infrastructure change.  Recycling cans and going green is not gonna make it happen.


  1. In essence Szasz is saying that it's not just about BUYING green it's about LIVING green? By buying green we're really only contributing to part of the problem, because we're still just consuming rather than stepping up and doing it right. Is that what he's saying?

    And yes, it's about recognizing the need for an infrastructure that meets the need of living sustainably while doing it so that it's easy. Because, goodness knows, we like things to come easy to us.

    BFI is using my neighborhood as a test subject for their "Easy Recycle" campaign and I have to say, I love it. We have to pay for it ($4 per month) but it really is easy. It's worth the $4 to be able to do some good. We've got two trash cans and two toters, one for recyclables and one for trash. No, we don't have to sort. Hallelujah! Just sort between the stuff on the list and the stuff NOT on the list. And we've found that we are beginning to recycle more than we throw out. I wish it would catch on more, I just think that people maybe want it easy and free instead of having to pay. It's worth it to me, to not have to separate everything in to different bins then drive to the other side of town and dump them when they get full. Well worth the $4.

    How about tax breaks for large scale recycling companies? Make it economically attractive to entrepreneurs to make it happen. Aren't jobs then created? Two bird, one stone. Wouldn't that be capitalism in full swing? Spend money to make money, provide a service and provide jobs, work on the environment and contribute to the economy.

    Am I living in a dream world?

  2. Yes Karee.

    Also, for example, the major contributors to global warming and climate change extend from the burning of fossil fuels (coal) from power plants.

    The change made by shopping and eating green are negligible in contrast to the changes that can be made by more restrictions on the production of CO2 from power plants.

  3. I didn't even think about pollution in that equation. I was just thinking about the living green that I do.

    But it's really all part of the chain... of use maybe or lifespan of the product? Even if you recycle there is still some level of pollution associated with that. What type of energy and how much of it go into recycling that particular product. That makes me think of "say Anything" (1989). Lloyd Dobler says, "I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that."

    So I guess the rule of thumb is reduce, reuse, recycle... in that order.

    I'm a big fan of wind energy and solar energy. My hubby's big things are hydrogen and solar. But, like so many others, he wants it inexpensively. He's in the process right now of retrofitting his (gas guzzler) Expedition to hybrid gas/hydrogen. I'll let you know how that works out.

    Oh yeah, thanks for bursting my "happy happy tree hugging" bubble.

  4. I know too many people who buy the "green" products just to SAY they are trying to fix the problem. I just feel if you haven't made the trip, don't buy the t-shirt. We don't do as much as we should but my family tries to walk when we can, recycle cans, turn off lights when not in use, unplug electronic devices when not in use and basically rely on the sun during the day when possible. I know it isn't much but we are trying to change. There is no way that buying a special windex will save the Earth, but Americans LOVE to consume and if we can do so AND feel like we can justify the shopping we are totally gonna do it.

  5. Anonymous3:07 PM

    It is like we talked about in Ecology we are only good for a good 150 yrs before we have completely depleted some of the rescourses, fossil fuels, that we use every day. However, fron 1920 to 2002, there was a decrease of 58% in total energy that comes from coal. We do have natrual gas which is better for the environment but it still pollutes. In the end no matter what we do today it would take the World years to correct the problem not just the U.S.

    Robert Askins