What Can We Do to Support Climate Recovery?
Avoid Being Fooled by Greenwashing!
Remember Starbucks’ big announcement that it was going straw free? Public outcry for a ban was largely sparked by the viral video of a turtle bleeding as a man pulled a plastic straw from its nose. Starbucks jumped on the bandwagon and pledged to eliminate all plastic straws by 2020. However, it did so by replacing them with sippy lids that are made with more plastic than the previous straw/lid combination. And based on my experience as a Starbucks employee, I can tell you people still rampantly use straws with the sippy lids.
The point is that we, the consumers, were manipulated into feeling good about doing what we perceived to be the right thing for the environment — when in fact, we were making things worse.
As consumer demand for environmentally conscious goods and services rise, so does “greenwashing” — marketing falsely presenting products as more natural, healthier, chemical-free, recyclable, compostable, or less damaging to the environment. Negligible changes to consumer goods are presented as feel-good choices. For example, a 50% increase in recycled material is frequently refers to an increase from 2% to 3%. A trash bag labeled “recyclable” is misleading because trash bags are rarely, if ever, separated from the trash to be recycled.
Keep an eye out for these certifications that indicate good green choices: USDA Organic, LEED, Green Business Bureau, Safer Choice, WELL, Green C Certification, Energy Star, EDGE, The Institute for Green Business Certification, Fair Trade USA Certified, PEER, Green Seal, SITES, Forest Stewardship Council, GRESB, WasteWise, WaterSense, BioPreferred, Bay Area Green Business ProgramParksmart, Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane, Green America, Green Plus, EPEAT.
Video: Greenwashing: Busting "eco" labels, CBC Marketplace
What Is Greenwashing? Business News Daily
By Natalie Snow Purinton
Green your Spring cleaning: 5 reasons to choose EU ecolabel detergents by Meta, the news channel of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB).
STOP, LOOK, LISTEN! by Kathy Sherretts
What a grim week! For me, the bright spot in the news was the start of baseball season. I felt a bit guilty about ignoring the political and environmental topics that I’m supposed to care about—taking my eye off the ball, as it were. (In case you're wondering, the Pirates split the opening series with the Reds after a rainout of Game Two.)
Then I found this piece in the Washington Post that explains "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" as a 115-year-old feminist anthem. After all, Opening Day does coincide with Women’s History Month! As the author notes, Simone de Beauvoir or Gloria Steinem couldn’t have said it better themselves.
NPR: Former CIA Deputy Director Explains Why 2020 'Briefing Book' Was Released Early (4 min)
The book provides 2020 presidential candidates with unclassified reports on major national security issues. The authors warn about “fake news and foreign election interference”, pointing to Russia as a particular problem.
Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Pa. Legislature’s first Muslim woman calls prayer delivered by fellow House member blatant ‘Islamophobia’ by Stephen Caruso and Elizabeth Hardison
“As an evangelical Christian, I was offended by [the prayer’s] lack of humility or care or, dare I say, love for a human being duly elected by [her] district. It was mean spirited.” texted Representative Margo Davidson of Delaware County.
The Atlantic: Trump’s Opponents Have One Assignment Now by Ronald Brownstein
The appeal of Trump’s agenda would not disappear even if he were forced from office. There’s a far better chance of uprooting his influence if his presidency is ended by the voters, not the courts or Congress.
The Guardian: US accused of blocking ambitious global action against plastic pollution by Sandra Laville
Countries most affected by plastic pollution include the Philippines, Malaysia and Senegal. US oil firms are investing billions of dollars in petrochemical production, possibly increasing plastic production by 40% in the next decade.
Energy Innovation Policy and Technology: The Coal Cost Crossover: Economic Viability of Existing Coal Compared to New Local Wind and Solar Resources by Eric Gimon, Mike O’Boyle, Christopher T.M.Clack, Sarah McKee
Coal generation is at a “cost crossover” in the United States. Today, local wind and solar could replace approximately 74% of the U.S. coal fleet at an immediate savings to customers. By 2025, this number will be 86%.
A baseball quote for our times: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” — Yogi Berra
WANT TO DO MORE?
Learn about the Green New Deal. If you missed our roundtable discussion, you can read the presenters' notes here. Read the Indivisible Guide 2.0, a new strategy for a new congress. Check out the weekly action plan from Progressive Action, Global Exchange (PAGE) which mobilizes progressives living overseas.
Sign up for the Americans of Conscience Checklist, a weekly action list that also provides encouragement and good news. Learn more about solutions and actions at ClimateRecovery.org, a new group organized by members of American Resistance Sevilla and other community activists.
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