Green Consumerism….Hmm….

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A video report from our new associate, Lori Harfenist, on “Green Consumerism.”  Watch with tongue ever so slightly in cheek.


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6 responses to “Green Consumerism….Hmm….”

  1. A. Benway says:

    Russ makes it plain that I ought to clarify what I said – so here goes:

    Originally “Jevon’s Paradox” (which is not really a paradox) refered to the observed matter of coal “production” (mining) in respect to the efficiency of steam engines. Watt had invented the steam condenser, making a materially more efficient steam engine, the result was that, somewhat counter-intuitively,  coal mining increased rather than decreased. Nowadays, of course, all sorts of very efficient machines are replacing less efficient machines and whole mountains are reduced to ashes – these are different sides of the same matter. And the more general “Jevon’s Principle” may be stated: Increases in efficiency lead to increases in consumption and the more rapid reduction of “resources”. While the precise meaning of “green” may be disputed, the general import of the word is assumed to be “good over the long-term”. Conflating efficiency in production and/or operational service with “green” fits precisely within the general principle. Of course, as has been suggested, the video may be seen as satire or farce. This may be an emotional response that correlates to Jevon’s, even though few people are aware of the principle by name or in any rigorous sense. Withal, “green” must therefore mean de-industrialization.

    Some may see a Green future as self-evident in the process itself, as de-industrialization is obviously the ultimate consequence of the present course of humanity.

    “Jevon’s” was addressed in Monthly Review some time back and there’s a wiki article on the principle.

    What it comes down to, really, is that no technical or “engineering” “solutions” can be “Green”. We camp out on a nice planet. We ought to live that way if we expect it to say nice. The video and the people associated with what they say is “Green” seem to be engaged in a sort of religious activity – belief-based rather than logic-based. QED

  2. Vk7ae says:

    Green is Red, read the United Nation’s Agenda 21 program.

  3. soularddave says:

    It seems that we’re short on definitions that we can recognize and agree on. There’s a world of difference between “green” and “greener”. To stop eating meat isn’t totally “green”, but a step toward “greener” (less fossil fuel, and less sustaining acreage). Living in a teepee on a farm where you grow everything you need and aren’t connected to the grid could be totally “green”. Most of us can neither do that nor apologize for not doing so – we need to eke out a living to support ourselves in a higher density situation.
    Here’s where “greener” products come in – including labor and intellectual pursuits (repairing ‘things’, building ‘things’,  teaching others’ kids, designing, conceiving of ideas). We’re not going to go without *everything*,  just to be green, so greener products will enhance lifestyles and allow others to make and vend those greener products in order to make a living (trading).
    Yes, there’s a palpable smugness among vendors in a “green exposition”, but i think it’s just the mere concentration of like minded individuals gathered in one place that permeates the place, or the intensity of the mission that one notices. It is something new and somewhat rare now, but that’s just where we are in the evolution of a new paradigm of sustainability. A person would be similarly confused if one went to a “religion fair” where 100 sects, cults, and denominations were competing for attention.

    Right now, one can go to a “green expo” and think of it like a Home Show, and just get samples, literature, and most important – IDEAS. Learn where you fit in and how you might find a better way to live.

  4. John Parulis says:

    Thanks for focusing on some of the dark side to green consumerism. The amoral industries that lie underneath green consumerism must be exposed- big oil, Wall St. financing, etc. What is needed is a moral economy founded on democratized banking and financing, not on the toxic model at work now. Thanks for this mini story.

  5. A. Benway says:

    Any activity derived from or dependent upon industrial methods – mass produced steel, oil, coal, and so forth, succumbs to the so-called Jevon’s Paradox. “Green” simply does not apply. Virtually all engineering rather carefully avoids this reality.  

    • Russ Baker says:

       Your point is not clear to me, vis a vis the video. Nor what you mean about engineering. Want to try again?