This Sunday marks the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day. I haven’t said much about it because Earth Day doesn’t do much for me anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Earth Day when it’s about education and doing actual things for the Earth like cleaning up parks or planting organic edible gardens.
But, Earth Day has morphed into a marketing day that’s used to sell stuff. I get emails that ask me to tell my readers that if they buy $75 worth of products at a particular store, they can get a free reusable bag. My favorite Earth Day email this year was the one that explained how a TV network was throwing Earth Day messages into their programs, and hey, wouldn’t my readers really want to know that on the “Real Housewives of Orange County," they’re going green by talking about a Prius. It’s ridiculous.
I’m not the only one who thinks so. Other bloggers are weighing in on it, too.
Lynn over at Celebrate Green is hoping that we’re all too smart to fall for the Earth Day hype. She’s fed up with her “in-box bulging with uninvited Earth Day-related propaganda.”
Unfortunately, as more and more companies are making Earth-friendlier items and stabs at sustainability, the level of greenwashing in order to pull the plastic over the public’s eyes, has increased exponentially.
And April 22nd has become the lightning rod for every silly, outlandish item with the vaguest, most tenuous link to sustainability.
This Earth Day, vow not to allow yourself to be reeled in like a mindless fish.
I’m right there with Lynn when she urges her readers to “consider what you can do this Earth Day to make a difference for your community and the planet” instead of buying something.
Grist will make you simultaneously smile and snarl with their the weirdest, worst PR crap they’ve seen this Earth Day. They mention the “Real Housewives” PR email that I mentioned above, plus about 15 others that made the recipients want to smack their head against a wall. (I know this because I received at least half of the same PR emails.)
TLC’s Parentables takes a more positive approach. After mentioning that even though some “trendy magazines” might tell us that taking care of the Earth means “buying the latest hybrid car or expensive, organically grown heirloom kumquats,” they give 10 green strategies for spending less on kids’ stuff (instead of buying lots of new stuff).
And MNN’s own Green Tech writer Chris Turner is my kindred soul when he writes about the Giant Earth Day Sale! Everything Must Go! He has copied verbatim some of the news articles, websites and press releases he’s come across that are urging people to shop their way to a better Earth.
Honestly, I’m looking forward to Earth Day to come and go this year so we can get away from the marketing nonsense. How about you?