You know what bothers me more than people who don’t care about the environment at all? The people who advertise “going green” one day out of the year, while negatively impacting the earth every other day of the year.
With all of these Earth Day clean-ups going on around central New York and all over the country, the question comes to mind: why, on this 40th anniversary of Earth Day (April 22, 1960), are we still celebrating the earth only one day out of the year? Why hasn’t this evolved?
I feel myself being a bit hypocritical as I am the main organizer for Mother Earth Week. It’s a step-up, true, from Earth Day, being a whole week. But, does it really do the deed of providing lasting, sustainable stewardship to the planet? Not so much.
I spent last weekend catching up on episodes of the show, “The Lazy Environmentalist,” starring Josh Dorfman, a fellow environmentalist, who goes around parts of the country (mostly in urban areas) addressing issues of sustainability and helping people fix those problems.
He shows people how you can be “greener” on a daily basis. Not just once a year. Celebrating the earth once a day, leads people to think that they did something good for the environment. And I agree. The fact that people took some time during their Saturday morning to clean up our area is remarkable. But, why stop there? I think there are many aspects of “greenwashing,” which is defined as the “practice of making a product seem more environmentally friendly than it might actually be” (Greenwashing), that create a sense of accomplishment and success in being “green” for some people.
Companies that give you the impression that what you’re purchasing is “eco-friendly” don’t focus on the fact that what their company does to produce that isn’t so friendly. The Huffington Post refers to several companies who are guilty of greenwashing customers. These are bigger companies that tell you that what you’re doing is actually helping the environment. But, they’re just skirting EPA rules and regulations and feeding lies to trusting customers who don’t see the the truth.
So, before you may or may not plan to do something spectacular for Earth Day, remember that every day should be earth day. If you use a little less water a day in the shower, buy a reusable water bottle instead of the multitude of plastic “eco-friendly” bottles, take mass transit over your own vehicle, use a power strip and turn off your power when you’re not using it, unplug your charger, throw your recyclables in the recycling, pick up a piece of trash daily… if you do all of this, you can be part of the bigger movement which is Earth Day Every Day.
For more information: check out the Earth Day network at http://www.earthday.org/. Or visit the government’s site at: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/