Our not-so-green world

Green is today’s gold. At least in American marketing circles. Every company touts its carbon-neutralRecycled_desk
goals, its green-friendly products and services and its commitment to protect the environment for future generations.

And, surveys will come along to support such thinking. CNN just released one taken of recent college graduates who overwhelmingly said they’d prefer working for a green-friendly company. Duh. Who’s going to say they’d like to work for some manufacturer purposely poisoning our air, land and water?

Yet, at the same time, one wonders how long the green hype will continue? For example, another survey just released by Nielsen showed that American shoppers couldn’t care less about patronizing grocery stores that provide ‘recyclable bags and packaging. Much more important were ‘good value,’ ‘better selection of high quality brands and products’ and, get this, ‘easy parking.’ Ouch. Talk about priorities.

And, then there’s Africa. Having just visited several countries on the ‘dark continent,’ I can confirm that green/sustainability efforts are non-existent. Cars and factories spew all sorts of toxic gases into the sky, and forests, grasslands and other natural resources continue to be trampled down and abused at will.

Last, but not least, there’s the looming recession. Going green is a ‘smart, socially-conscious’ business move when the economy’s booming. One wonders, though, how many CEOs will stay the course when their boards and shareholders squeeze them even harder for improved quarterly profits.

So, color me ‘yellow’ for cautious when it comes to green’s long-term future. It’s a great idea but one, I’m afraid, that will take a back seat as more pressing realities come to the forefront.

2 thoughts on “Our not-so-green world

  1. Let’s hope you’re right, Ted. But, here’s why I think you’re not. There’s too many starving people and too many internecine, religious wars going on around the world to ever permit your sort of government/business solution. And, things are getting worse, not better. When it comes down to putting food on the table and day-to-day survival, sustainability and doing what’s right for the planet will, sadly, never be more than a nice-to-have.

  2. While more people than ever before are aware and making an effort to reduce their impact on the environment, I agree that a majority of people in this country and around the world could either care less or have more pressing issues – such as surviving and putting food on the table – that distract or prevent them from doing what’s right by the environment.
    So here’s what I believe will happen. The environmental health of this planet will continue to deteriorate in years to come and the experts and pundits will soon realize that convincing the masses to change their Earth-choking habits and ways of life is truly impossible.
    Therefore, government will step in and start to regulate in a meaningful way and, most importantly, business will save the day in two ways.
    One, business will innovate. I’m convinced that we will see some of the greatest inventions of our time over the next few decades that will help us reverse climate change and stem the advance of global warming.
    Two, companies big and small will be forced to dramatically reduce their own carbon footprints. This will be most important in large industrial nations from the U.S. to China. In the future, it won’t just be the right thing to do, it will be the cost of doing business in the 21st century. Those who don’t act will choke themselves out of business.
    This may be wishful thinking but I think it’s our only and best shot. If business cannot lead the way, I truly fear for our future.