“Going Green”

eco-friendly-sign.jpgWe’ve all heard about “going green”. It’s the biggest money-making scam since Ponzi.

Ehhh, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit.

But it’s true that “buying green” often isn’t best for the environment. I was in an environmentally focused store a few weeks ago, and was mildly disgusted by some of the products they were offering in the name of being green.

I could have replaced every item I own with one that was touted as being green. Would that have really been environmentally friendly? Not at all. I have un-green items, but the best choice is to make as much use of them as I can before getting rid of them.

But replacing items with “green” ones isn’t the only problem. Often environmentally friendly items aren’t particularly environmentally friendly at all. Plastic is bad for the environment, period. Yet the vast majority of the food storage containers were still made of plastic! There was only one choice made of metal, which is much the better for the environment.

Most people wouldn’t think about that little detail. They would see the “eco-friendly” sticker on the container and assume that it’s the best choice. That little sticker is a marketing ploy.

All this being said, sometimes the truly environmentally friendly choice may be the poor one.

DDT is infamous for being the first widespread pesticide to be banned because of environmental issues. In 1972, the USA decided to outlaw it from public use. This was widely hailed as a victory for environmentalists. However, there’s a darker side to this act. Studies have indicated that more than 50 million people have died from malaria since DDT was banned; deaths that were preventable had DDT been available to combat the disease.

Claims like this need to be taken with a grain of salt, of course. Preventable deaths are extremely difficult to calculate. But we do know that people have died from malaria because the environment took a higher priority.

I am all in favour of reducing waste and working to protect the planet. But protecting the planet for the sake of protecting the planet is plain foolishness. People are what’s important.

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