24 April 2010

Consuming Earth Day

How many feet can that thing get to a gallon?

Earth Day is feeling sort of inconsequential. It seems to have morphed, this year, into both Earth Hour and Earth Month.

I guess people feel good about turning off lights for an hour, participating in a big movement, doing something green. My problem with it is that it's so minimal in its impact. If "Earth Hour" were about figuring out one way to use less energy on an on-going basis for the rest of one's life, and each year's Earth Hour involved another commitment, it would seem more meaningful.

And Earth Month seems to be a big advertising bonanza, used by marketers for all kinds of greenwashed opportunities for the populace to engage in yet more buying bonanzas.

What we need is a complete re-thinking of the ways in which we interact with stuff. A one child per family policy for the entire world, until populations reach roughly 1900 levels. A thorough-going commitment on the part of individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, governments, and pan-governmental organizations -- yes, ALL of them -- to limit further production and consumption.

For the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day, I'm feeling discouraged.