Monday, June 16, 2008

GSpotting Response to NY Times "The Era of Green Noise"

Put your game face on

Yesterday's NY Times was filled with fabulous Sunday Style content, as per usual, like weddings, clothes, and even a green article. But let's go back and GSpot the latter, shall we?

Alex Williams, who has written his share of critiques of the of the eco-lifestyle movement, had an article entitled "That Buzz In Your Ear May Be Green Noise." The article speaks to the growing confusion over green products and the idea of consumers being inundated by an overkill of eco-friendly options. One example he brings up is local but traditionally grown lettuce vs. organic but well traveled produce, and which is better.

Williams' article ends by quoting Paul Hawken, the author of Natural Capitalism and a father of the modern green movement saying, “even people inside the movement have the same feeling — burnout.”

Idle hands are the Devil's playthings... Our fingers don't stop.

But here's the thing, we are not all burned out! Really!! Think about it: everyday we see new and unbelievably fresh innovation coming from unexpected and awesome places. Like Greensulate by Ecovative Design, an insulation made from mushrooms that is flame retardant and biodegradable and could technically replace Styrofoam for packing purposes. Or Cyber Rain, using automated computer technology to watering gardens with minimal water use. these are just two examples of entrepreneurs measuring success by not only the the profits they make, but also the superior products they create and the global impact they have.

Or other times, badass green mobilization comes from corporations that have SUCKED for decades regarding environmental and labor policies, but are now seeing the err of their ways. Maybe it's all the green noise, but never before have we had healthier, more sustainable products choices (hello Colorox Green Works)... even if we don't know which ones to choose. I mean, this is America: too many choices on a shelf at a store is what WHAT WE DO BEST!

As much as it is innovation of budding companies or the revamping of "the man", William's article fails recognize the power of the youth. Being young has it's advantages: we aren't too jaded and are still idealistic, we fall in love easily, we have an unlimited amount of energy, and we have great collagen in our skin. For all of us young green professionals, being part of the new green revolution is exciting and fresh, and more succinctly, the only option we have.

Paul Hawken, who G-d Bless is 62 years old, deserves to be a bit burnt out. He has carried the movement from Rachel Carson to "An Inconvenient Truth". And Alex Williams, whose age I couldn't find, is a critically thinking journalist, which is of great value to the NY Times and their readership. But perhaps his skepticism of green has something to do with burn out, too.

On the other hand, our generation of young professionals and college students entering professions in green media, alternative energy development, sustainable manufacturing, green building and design, alternative transportation and mass transit, sustainable community development, micro-financing green activity in developing countries, environmental engineering, etc, aren't even close to burn-out. In fact, we are just getting started.

1 comment:

Lynarafuzz said...

Amen to that! As a young professional preparing to enter the design world, I would have to agree that there is no other choice. I will only work for a green conscious company, and eventually, I will open my own eco-design business. Maybe by then I could even be completely "cradle to cradle"! The point is, you are right. Older people may be burned out, but our message to them is: if you are done, get the hell out of the way because we are moving forward no matter what!