“Green” Fair rant(esque) spasm…

the third annual Charleston Green Fair is coming up and, while it doesn’t have any exhibitors quite as derision-prone as the infamous “clean coal” booth, it still seems to be a shining example of how “green” is missing the point.

i’m not a “greenie” or a “tree-hugger,” and i’m certainly no “progressive,” but i do believe that we should be proper stewards of our planet (if only for our own self-preservation).

so i recycle, ride my bike for transport as much as possible, drive a fuel-efficient car, etc. but i don’t have the almost religious adherence to the “green” cause that many of its members seem to.

anyway, i was browsing the Green Fair’s list of exhibitors – and it makes me wonder how obtuse some people can be.

so let’s take a look at some of them, shall we?

the first to catch my eye (but not the one that caused my crankiness) was Bota Box Wines. now, ignoring any virtues of the wine itself, the company stakes its green cred on its packaging – the “box” in the company name. box wine has been around for quite a while now, and there are definite virtues to the package – at least from the point of keeping the wine drinkable. but Bota claims their box is a better environmental choice than glass, which i sincerely doubt. according to their literature, the box is “100% recyclable.” guess what? so is a wine bottle. the internal bag takes up 85% less landfill space than a wine bottle – a recyclable glass wine bottle. assuming a natural cork (and yes, i know there are problems there), the traditional package is 100% recyclable or biodegradable. and while the initial environmental production cost for glass is much higher than for their box, the near-infinite number of times it can be recycled outweighs this.

so, basically, they’re missing the point. don’t throw out your bottles, recycle them. oh, and one other thing: that inner bag? in the landfill forever. the glass bottle? in a few thousand years, it eventually breaks and returns to sand.

hey, look: Costco is a sponsor. Costco has loads of environmental issues, from their office supplies to their seafood. they’re working to be better, but there’s more than a hint of “greenwashing” coming from their actions. sponsoring a local Green Fair seems like it might fall into that category.

Lightning Bugz Electric Vehicles is an exhibitor; they rent electric low-speed vehicles, primarily to the tourist/vacationer market. i have huge issues with hybrid and electric cars (even souped-up golf carts like these); they offer false economy and have huge disposal issues. while i admit that i’d prefer visitors drive one of these instead of a mucking great SUV, what ever happened to bicycles or shank’s mare?

but the source of my vitriol and the sponsor i most have to laugh at? Subaru of Charleston. now, i love Subaru cars. the Impreza WRX STI is a brutal little bullet of a performance car, and the Legacy 2.5GT is (IMHO) a viable alternative to a BMW 3-series. but green? you’ve got to be kidding. their absolute most efficient model gets 22 MPG (combined). Honda and Toyota’s least efficient cars get 21 and 23, respectively. their Tribeca SUV is pretty thirsty, too – though not much worse than other vehicles in its class.

Subaru is easily the least green of the Japanese car companies, and here they are sponsoring a Green Fair. it’s all about image. they sell the image of an outdoor lifestyle and have the reasonable expectation that most of their target market will buy it.

people think they want to be “green.” but they don’t really want to make the sacrifices required. this year’s Green Fair is just more proof of that. so do your research before you buy an image.

quote of the day:

“He who reforms himself has done more towards reforming the public than a crowd or noisy, impotent patriots.” – Johann Kaspar Lavater


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