April 20th 2014
You Want the Answer? Ask Another Question.
In this poisonously consumeristic society, it is no surprise that the health of Earth’s environment is chugging along the low road. We constantly need things—new shoes, cool gadgets, savvy technology, and whatever else. The humans of the 21st century are on a gluttonous rampage of necessity. The sad thing is that most of us can recognize that we do not really need the things that we say we do, but with the availability of things nowadays it is impossible not to be drawn into purchasing things online or by the phone. Because of these tendencies, the fad of ‘buying green’ has become more and more popular for consumers all over the world. Buying products made out of all green, recycled materials has been great scapegoat for shoppers to feel less guilty about their consumption habits. While sitting in front of the television for hours on end, some of these couch potatoes may feel satisfactory knowing that they paid extra to make sure that television was running with hydropower. This is even common in lines of clothing, as teens and young adults are now obsessed with their all-organic, vegan Toms Shoes: that are not only good for the environment, but also give back to those in need in the most trendy and fashionable way possible.
Having the opportunity to buy ecofriendly products is a lovely way for people to contribute to their ecosystem. Or is it? Lately, people are becoming more aware of the world and its plummeting state of wellbeing, and they are recognizing that things haven’t gotten much better than they were before the day they had solar panels installed to their roof. So people are asking now: Will buying green products provide an adequate environmental remedy? In a utopian world of honest advertising, I think it could. Late 2013, 50% of online shoppers bought eco-friendly products because they want to reduce the impact on their children’s generation. Even better, 82% of online shoppers said they would like more eco-friendly products to be more readily available to them online. The next one surprised me: 70% of adults said the statement “I am concerned about the environment,” describes their attitude. (Eco-Friendly Products). With percentages like that, how can we not save the environment? Quick, everyone get to shopping, now! Actually, let’s hold off on that. Why? At this point in our societies state, replacing non-green items is more harmful than just leaving them in your home, waste exportation still exists despite our best efforts, and (get this) you’ve been brainwashed, my dear.
I sympathize with you right now. I really do. You may be reading this essay from your iPad in its eco-friendly burlap protective case, with your feet donning Toms propped up on your bamboo windowsill. I know you, and truthfully, I was you. And because of that, I know exactly how you feel right now: betrayed, singled out, embarrassed, and so much more . . . That is exactly how I felt the moment I realized that my consumption habits were just trickling into a large pool of polluted lies. I too, like you, feel very angry. Because of this, we have to prove that this betrayal was not all for scum. We have learned from this. We will not be fooled anymore.
So you and I are buying green. We go out shopping together, and in our cart we have just placed a brand new set of eco-friendly swirly light bulbs. We go back to your place (since I already have eco-friendly light bulbs installed at mine) and we make the big switch. So in with the good and out with the bad! But where are we putting the bad? This is what Monica Hesse calls “The Replacement Problem.” “It’s done with the best intentions, but all that replacing is problematic. That ‘bad’ vinyl flooring? It was probably less destructive in your kitchen than in a landfill.” (Hesse). The essay further goes on to speak about how people love to buy new things and that being eco-friendly is the perfect excuse to go out and