Monday, June 16, 2008

green backlash

Before I read The World Without Us by Alan Weisman (a book that I would highly recommend, btw), I didn't realize just how new plastic was. Or how it doesn't really degrade, just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces.

So I started asking for paper bags at the grocery store.

Then someone sent me a link to a Los Angeles Times thing, I think, which compared the eco-friendliness of both the paper and plastic grocery bags, (with a cute little chart, even) and found them both to be problematic. Sure, plastic doesn't degrade, but it's smaller than bulky chemical-coated paper bags.

Just this weekend, I found myself in a conversation about disposable plates and silverware versus washing: are you more interested in conserving the energy that goes into making disposable plates or the water that goes into washing non-disposable ones?

I think that last question is a no-brainer, but in general, there seems to be some confusion over what is best for the environment.

The NYT's style section had a story yesterday about "green noise" — overwhelming, and at times contradictory, information about the environment — and how environmentalists are worried it's creating green backlash:

"A study by the Shelton Group, an advertising agency and market research company based in Knoxville, Tenn., that focuses on environmental products, showed that consumers surveyed in 2007 were between 22 and 55 percent less likely to buy a wide range of green products than in 2006. The slipping economy had an effect, but message overload appeared to be a major factor as well, said Suzanne C. Shelton, the company’s president."

Which I guess means that now conservation groups are worried both about global warming and burn out.