The Self-Defeating “Go Green” Movement

It occurs to me that the “Go Green” movement is largely self-defeating.

When I was in elementary school, we were indoctrinated taught to practice the “Three Rs”: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

It was explained that the three represent three different degrees of importance:

  • Reduce: By far the most important of the three, reducing the amount of resources you use, buy, or otherwise consume is the most effective means there is of reducing pollutants, waste, and so on.

  • Reuse: Of secondary importance is reusing resources so that they do not become waste and so that time, money, and energy are not spent recycling the material. Converting milk jugs into bird feeders or storage containers would be an example of reuse.

  • Recycle: Coming in third is recycling. If you have to use resources and there’s no way (or will) to reuse whatever’s left, it is hoped that as much of it as possible will be recycled. While less important (and less effective) than the first two Rs, recycling is vastly superior to simply disposing of used resources.

But what happens in reality? Take a walk around your local discount store. You can buy recycled t-shirts, soy candles, and all sorts of diverse things. The movement’s working, right?

Well, is it really? Or are the greenies simply adding even more shoddy products to the market?

I could understand if all candles were being produced from soy or if all t-shirts were made from organic cotton or recycled bottles, but that isn’t the case. Not by a long shot.

And when so-called environmentally friendly products do arrive in stores, they are designed to appeal primarily to the greenies themselves. I’m not going to buy your recycled t-shirt if it says “Save the Earth” or “Love the Earth” or any other enviro-hype. Nor am I going to buy your soy candles when the “old school” candles are nearby, cost less, and smell much better.

Maybe there are greenies out there not motivated by money, but much like mainstream anything, the Green Movement is self-defeating and does little more than to introduce more junk into the mark rather than encouraging a reduction in waste.

I’m not surprised by this. If “Reduce” was embraced, 90% of what your local department stores sell would be revealed to be unnecessary landfill fodder. Can’t have that now, can we? Better to have one foot firmly planted in the enviro-lovers’ camp, even though the other foot is deeply entrenched into the love of money.

9 thoughts on “The Self-Defeating “Go Green” Movement”

  1. You must remember the greenies, much like all any other group that would love to tell you how to live, don’t care about results. Only their intentions matter.

    No matter how much you R, R or R, you’ll never do enough to be a good steward of the earth. This will, of course, require new laws to force people to “convert” to alternate means of transportation, manufacturing, lighting, etc., which will eventually increase production costs.

    We only need to look at Europe where these policies are in place and gauge their efficacy. Then use logic guided by experience, to determine if it makes sense for us to follow in their footsteps.

    But then again, who needs logic when we have bleeding hearts. :)

    1. To be an effective environmentalist, one would have to commit suicide and allow their bodies to decompose naturally in a field somewhere. Not only would this prevent resources from being spent on a funeral, but it would also cut out on a lifetime of resource usage as well. I bet that’d make good ol’ Gaia happy.

      Ignoring the matter of there not being an eco-crisis, part of the problem with environmentalism — illustrated in the extreme just above — is that there really is no end to it. Sure we may replace fossil fuels with electric cars and we may replace some raw materials with recyclables, but we’ll do with the new resources the same thing as we’ve done with every other resource we’ve gotten a hold on: Use it, abuse it, and then point to it in defense of going even greener.

      When will it end? When God unleashes His wrath on Earth. No doubt the more obstinate of the greenies will decry God for His “eco-terrorism.” Bottom line is that we are living on a planet deserving of wrath, of judgment. It is for that reason our love, our attention, our loyalty ought to be to the Creator, to the one who is capable of destroying not only the earth, but our very souls as well.

  2. I am a reformed Christian and I go green whenever I can! I am no fanactic but I try to save money and conserve energy when possible. I find that it personally helps my families monthly bills more than anything! Some ‘Go Green’ ideas may not help the movements overall goal but some of the concepts help me.

    1. I agree with you, Amanda. We are called to be good stewards of that which we are given — this includes our finances, our land, our homes, and so on. Using resources wisely is a great way to make our income and resources go farther, which is awesome.

      If anything, though, this sort of thing is unintentionally green — or it’s “green” in reference to the money saved.

      God owns the hills on a thousand hillsides; I highly doubt He needs my help to ensure those hillsides are able to sustain life from generation to generation, you know?

  3. Each person who observes the three R’s will, in a small way, make a difference. Just because you buy the cheap stuff and don’t care about the “real cost” of that product, doesn’t mean that my choices don’t mean anything. Every little bit helps and hopefully there are more people like Amanda out there and less like you!
    Great point at the end, though, about our consumption-based society making it hard to reduce. That’s right-on.

  4. @Justin: Cuba’s consumption is very low, look at how well they’re doing. It has nothing to do with being green, but more with being red.

  5. Rick –

    I agree – it’s always a phenonemally good idea to try to capture the ethos of an entire population, and sort of reduce it down to one simple, easy to understand generalization that you can wrap your brain around. All “Greenies” are really about the money.

    It’s sort of like all of those fun folks who talk about believing in god, and good and all of that simpleton stuff, only later to be revealed as silly, small minded and hyper judgemental of any point, or position that sort of swings the door open to a thought process they don’t share.

    Most people’s motivations, Rick – are embedded in some notion that they are doing the right thing – or picking the proper path – or headed in the right direction….even if they are far afield of the facts. Kind of like – you are a seemingly nice dude when you aren’t trying to talk about morality – or tripping yourself up with silly and specious statements about God’s wrath and hari kari in an enviormentally friendly fashion.

    Your motivation is good – you’re heart is probably in the right place – you’re just not there yet in other important intellectual arenas. But I’ve got faith, you are going to get there Rick – I really do. ( No pun intended..:-)

  6. ian: It’s a good thing that being a “nice guy” isn’t one of my goals. I would rather speak the truth than to concede it to make friends.

    Thanks for stopping by, though I admit I’m not sure exactly what point you’re trying to make in your comment. Despite that, I appreciate it. :D

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