Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Do you think of Earth Day as a time to reflect on personal choices, engage in community action and pressure world leaders to address climate change and environmental degradation? Or has Earth Day been co-opted by corporations wanting to attach their names to feel-good events without changing the status quo? Everywhere you look products are labeled as green and environmentally-friendly. Does this signify any real change or is it just a case of greenwashing, where companies use false claims about a product’s environmental impact in order to sell more stuff?
Greenpeace runs a website devoted to exposing greenwashing with the slogan ‘Clean up your act, not your image’. I share their skepticism of corporate slogans and their new-found interest in jumping on the green bandwagon. However, I also believe that consumers and activists can use corporate commitments and codes to draw attention to how products are made and the impact they have on the environment and the people who make, sell and consume them. So keep an eye out for greenwashers and in the meantime use Earth Day as a time to reflect on your personal choices, engage in community action and pressure world leaders to address climate change and environmental degradation. For more on the history of Earth Day and events, go to the Earth Day 2010 Action Center.
Image courtesy of epSos.de