The Green Monster in the Mirror
Many businesses are rushing to the new gold mines – except this gold is green. Green ethics are the new gold standard of blue chip companies. Confused? Saving the world is the new battle cry of business. Marketing execs are holding hands, singing Kumbaya, and pursuing polar bear photo ops. But what caused this ‘rush’ and is it really a good thing? Consumers are more involved with the process than you may think.
Before there was a hole in the ozone layer, or the technology to detect the hole (which, ironically, seemed to occur simultaneously,) the business world pursued progress for progress’ sake. Madison Avenue, in efforts to burn their product’s image into our heads (Huh…maybe that’s why it’s called ‘branding?’) persuaded millions of Americans to believe that life just isn’t good unless it’s busier, faster, better, and cheaper. Don’t have the money? You don’t need it! Don’t listen to grandma’s advice about saving. No. Get a loan. You need it – no…you deserve it – now! But like my mom always says, “It takes two to tango.” There is no seller without a buyer, and we bought it all.
This “me first – me now!” attitude blossomed through the 80’s and 90’s as consumers epitomized the very term “Consumer”. The baby-boom generations blossomed into the Joneses and those trying to keep up with them. As a result, America suffered an identity crisis. We are no longer the hard-working, boot-strapping nation where individualists like Benjamin Franklin define the American Dream. We evolved into a nation of pretenders and blamers. Some people used self-discipline to develop successful and balanced life while millions of stressed-out people pursued the illusion of balance at the expense of their families and credit ratings. Our desires for more have threatened our very existence.
Our lusts and passions are the reason we are now embracing trees. In an effort to stymie the tsunami of our sins, there is a concerted effort to undo our past wrongs before they kill us. The funny thing is, businesses are still prospering. There’s nothing wrong with that. I hope they make a killing. Business is about one thing: profit. As long as the “Consumer” demands Green and no longer supports – eh – brown, then there’s still a chance to make a difference. We determine the next step; not Wall Street.
So, are green ethics good? Yes. Regardless of the motive, the ends justify the means. But before we go overboard blaming big business, industrialist, big oil, or Madison Avenue for our current global woes, take a long look in the mirror. Without our wallets, none of these institutions would exist. We vote with our money and businesses follow it like a lovesick schoolgirl. Big Babies are to blame – consumers – you and me. Let’s grow up, put our selfish wants behind us and vote for what we really need: personal responsibility.
Enough ranting already…I’m going to buy a tree.