Today we looked at how no one really cares about Going Green anymore. What happened, many of you wondered. One commenter from a wild land far, far away offered a possible explanation. Simple, but sensible.
The problem is that "green" is being sold as just another brand rather than a change in basic habits. Americans will gladly buy one product over another if it makes them feel good about themselves, but hell will free[ze over before you can] convince them to stop and think about whether they really need to buy so much crap in the first place.
I grew up in the USSR, and while you guys made fun of us for not having well-stocked supermarket shelves, the upside was that people learned to use every bit they had. Ripped clothes were sewn up and handed down and broken appliances were repaired, because shit was scarce and expensive. But here and now, thanks largely to cheap Chinese manufacturing, nearly everything is cheaper to replace than to repair. Between what's in people's apartments and what's out on the curb, there's probably enough furniture for everyone in the city and their mothers, but that bookcase isn't quite the right color and you can buy a new one for 10 bucks at Ikea, right? So the trees will keep being cut down and the factories will keep churning and the landfills will keep filling up, while you pat yourself on the back for recycling that plastic water bottle. And the worst part is, we're constantly being told that this type of wasteful consumption is Good for the Economy.
People often point out that we get cheaper prices in exchange for outsourcing our manufacturing labor. But maybe higher prices for consumer goods wouldn't be such a bad thing if it made us all consume more wisely.