Thursday, May 26, 2011

Screw the Planet, Save Ourselves

There is an article that has been making its rounds of Facebook pages, as many do. This one has me a little torn. You may have seen it; it's in greenbiz.com. The gist of it is... well, here's a paragraph:

 Suzanne Shelton, president and CEO of Shelton Group, also responded to the NYT piece as well as a more recent article by GreenBiz Executive Editor Joel Makower, who declared green marketing dead. While Shelton acknowledged that marketing products with an "it'll save the planet" message is dead, she added: "Very few Americans have ever bought stuff because they want to save the planet. As I've hammered home in this blog countless times, people buy green products for a host of other reasons -- to feel more comfortable, to gain peace of mind, to limit the chemicals their families are exposed to ..."

My first reaction to what many were saying, "Wow, good article," was to get a little pissed. (Naturally. I mean, it's me, remember?) I got in a little bit of a snit that people are so damn selfish and don't care to ever think about the effect on the planet. But, so what? Doesn't the end justify the means? Who cares about their reasoning so long as they buy the good stuff? Right? Even my tag line is, "Saving the Species, Not the Planet". So... why so snitty?
Image from article. Heels? Really?
Good question. I may or may not have figured this one out. We'll see. Together. I think I just feel like it should all be one in the same, you know? Why do we have to make a distinction? How about, "I buy this because I care about my kids. But I also care about other people's kids. I care about the health of my home, and my home IS the planet." Is it just THIS tiny little thing that is bugging me? What IS it that makes me give a crap about why people do what they do? They're still buying the good stuff. Take what ya get, shut up, and get on with it.

But now comes my AHA moment. I think. Yes, yes, this could be it. Making this shade of a distinction speaks of the bigger problem to me. That problem is that we do not have a "global concern." We still don't care about what our neighbor is doing, so long as in OUR little household, WE'RE buying cleaners etc. that are healthy for OUR kids. I must really, really be reading WAY too much into this. Something. This shouldn't bug me this much. But, OK, heck yah I'm going to read into it.  See, it's a dangerous attitude. No, not mine. The attitude of which I speak is this pervasive subversive idea that all I care about is me and mine. I just see it too much everywhere about so many things. "I got my healthcare, screw everyone else." "My kid goes to a good school, screw anyone else's kids." "I got mine, that's their problem." This... circling of wagons into tiny little groups alarms me to no end. And this seems like more of it. It makes me think things don't end well for anyone.

At this point, I fail to know if I am making any sense. I like to think I am. Something just troubles me about the way this is stated, that's all. Yay for people buying green products for whatever reason. Boo me for thinking anything untoward about the whole thing. It's all good, we're fine, everyone's fine, nothing to see here, no worries.

And yet....