Going Green and Good Business don’t seem to mix

When I broaden the scope of this blog outside the world of IT, there are some similarities between people pro and anti Microsoft, Apple and Unix, for example like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones… but also another one that I would like to address; environmentalists and the rest of the people.

I have to admit that more and more, since the last couple of years, I am starting to get a bit irritated by the environmental issue. Let me say, first and foremost I do think we need to address our ways, live cleaner, and more healthy. It will indeed lower our carbon footprint, although it will not save us from environmental problems.

Keep in mind, that an environmentalist company is still a business, and is in the game to make money. If it wasn’t, it would have been an organization or a fund. If it is a company, there is money on the line, just like in any other business. The only thing that this kind of business has, is to make you feel guilty and maybe unjustly aware of a crime you did not commit, to buy into their products. I know this sounds harsh, but it is the logical marketing slogan for a commercial company that deals with environmental issues.

If I would build a product that is a lot more ‘green’ than the competitor, that would be my message to my clients: “Buy my product, because it is better for the environment”. But the message has been changed lately, the message now is “You are hurting the world by not being environment-oriented, you need to buy our product to secure your ticket into heaven.’. That is what is my problem with it. It is being told we are all criminals in the crime of killing the world.

But is that so? One thing for sure, recycle more. Especially here in the US we waste too many plastic bags, soda bottles and any kind of other recyclable goods. Also, buying wood, make sure it is from a controlled environment. I agree we should not litter the world, and kill nature excessively like we are doing now to manage our consumptive lifestyle. But that is not a business, this is a change in our lifestyle. No-one will make money of the fact we will use less plastic bags. People will actually lose money by it. First of all, the production companies of the plastic bags, and then even the people who handle the trash from it. Not only that, but the Shoprite where I buy my groceries is giving me, even though a small amount of, money for using my own bags. Which I like better because they are much stronger and hold up a lot more stuff.

And the CO2 emissions might not bethe kind of problem as we are told to believe. This might be weird for me to state that, because we absolutely leave our mark. I know the con arguments against environmentalists about volcanos shooting more C02 in the world than man does. That is not true. People release about 200 billion tonnes of CO2 a year, volcano’s ‘only’ 130 million tonnes (http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hazards/gas/index.php). But people and volcanos are not the only elements that play a game in this. Let’s get to the life-stock; all animals that we hold as cattle provides 15%-20% of the CO2 emissions. Worse, they also generate the most amount of methane to be released into the atmosphere. And there are many more elements; forrest fires, earthquakes… you name them. But usually we check CO2, because somehow it is printed in our minds that CO2 causes the greenhouse effect. That, is not true.

And the truth is, that methane is a for more contributing gas that creates the greenhouse effect than CO2 will ever be. The table in this document (http://jas.fass.org/cgi/reprint/73/8/2483.pdf) shows nicely that we as a human create only about 1/3 of the emissions of methane per year. Or do we need to read this differently? Because when you actually read this table, and also look through the rest of that text and what we read online; even if you want to blame life-stock, keep in mind there is this much life-stock becauseof our life-style. Because we simply love that giant piece of rib-eye at diner, and toss an extra burger on the barbecue.

Men is absolutely, positively causing directly or indirectly the most dangerous greenhouse gasses. But the solution is not in what environmental companies tell you. Because a way to reduce this, is simply with doing less. Drive less (your boss will not like that), eat less, have less children (reduce the overpopulation), buy less, pollute less. Easy. It requires a change of lifestyle, but it is certainly doable.

But also, by saving the environment this way by doing less, there is also less money to be made. If I grow my own fruit and vegetables in my own yard, and I eat those, no one is making any money of that. And that is a financial problem. If I would limit the amount of food consumption even only in our household, it would mean less money in the bank for the companies whose products I now suddenly don’t buy. And again, a commercial company is only that because it is there for making money.

Also, in perspective of saving the environment, shouldn’t ‘green’ products be cheaper or at least competitive with the more polluting versions? Why do I pay more for a healthy meal than a MacDonald’s meal? Of course, technically I understand that, but not out of the ‘let’s save the world’ policy. And in a world where poverty is a huge problem, you can be guaranteed that ‘green’ products will never win this race, not while the producers of polluting products replace their products with greener ones.

If you leave people the choice, they will in the end always chose the one that is best for them. And even if it is about, for example, a environmentally-aware family; if they can’t afford being green, if it is the choice of paying school in time or using solar power, don’t expect them to behave ‘green’. The choice and follow-up for living green is something that should be made and enforced by the government, and not a choice by the government and than leave it up to the corporations again.

And this is why I have a problem with this message from these environmental companies. I absolutely would say and advice to live more properly, save a tree by skipping a meal, but do not just bluntly accept anything a commercial company dabbling in green products tell you.

 

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