Sunday, January 17, 2010

Green or Greed....Saturday, April 11. 2009

The two words "GREEN" and "GREED" sound a lot alike and believe it or not they are more connected that you may think. Many companies now are starting to use the green movement or environmental concerns and fear of global warming as a profit motive or in some cases just pure greed.

One example is large retail stores and restaurants that promote themselves as being "green" and environmentally friendly to the consumer, but behind the scene they are wasteful and throw countless amounts of merchandise and food out daily. It is appalling how much stuff is thrown out in North America daily, even stuff that has value and could be used. I used to work in a large Canadian retail store chain that used to throw clothes out in the garbage if they had a slight tear or stain on them. Their policy was to throw it out instead of donate it. It was easier for them. But in their weekly fliers I remember they used to have mentioned environmentally friendly living habits from time to time. Hypocritical isn't' it?

Another example is a ploy from some retail stores to charge customers a fee for plastic bags. They bully the customer into thinking a few bags will cause global warming when these same stores throw more garbage in landfills more than the total amount of bags that end up in landfills. These so-called surcharges for plastic bags in the name of being environmentally friendly add up to millions in extra profit for some retailers. Are they giving this back to society in environmental ways? We need to ask this as consumers and demand that these stores do so.

In the United States and other countries farmers have been given grants to use their farmland to grow corn and grains used for ethanol. For some farmers it is more profitable for them to grow crops for ethanol than to grow crops for food. In the United States for example, the ethanol industry is supported by government incentives. How can we fuel our cars with an energy source made from crops that are normally used for food, when there are food shortages in parts of the world? Across the world today one billion people live below the international poverty line, earning less than a dollar per day. Every day, approximately 15,000 children die from hunger-related causes--one child every six seconds. They certainly are not concerned about what type of fuel should power their vehicles. They are struggling just to get a portion of food and water to stay alive for another day. Ethanol should only be made from waste products and nothing else. If we are diverting crops and farmland away from food sources we are heading down a dangerous and unethical path. Also we should not be chopping down trees to satisfy our hunger for fuel. Ultimately, human greed and profit motive play a huge part in the types of fuel we use to power our gas guzzling vehicles?

The word "green" is a buzzword these days. In some cases it is used by some companies as a marketing ploy and nothing else. In other cases industries such as oil refineries will say they are environmentally friendly just to keep environmentalists happy and quiet, but in reality they spew toxins into our atmosphere including our volatile water supply at an alarming rate. I am not saying all companies use the word green as a marketing ploy, but when companies use words like "green, reduce, reuse and recycle, and combat global warming" just as a profit motive and dismiss real environmental issues behind the scene they are guilty of hypocrisy. Green for Greed…is that the way to go? I think not.

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