It was the thud of yet another new “green lifestyle” magazine landing on my desk that pushed me over the edge. At the risk of not having Lunapads reviewed (unlikely, as we’ll see), I’m not going to name names, but I do not exaggerate when I say that my desk here at Lunapads is literally, well – littered – with new green living guides, coupon books, magazines and books. Mind, we’re not talking about the likes of Sierra or E magazine, who have been practicing serious environmental journalism for decades, but rather a slew of glossy newcomers touting their version of what I loosely call the “new eco-chic lifestyle”. As the marketing gal around here, I’m the lucky recipient of their ad soliciting and am becoming a bit alarmed by the sheer volume of this mushrooming pile.
Not to be too much of a grump, these magazines do have some good things to say ~ in case you need novel eco-ideas like eating organic locally-grown food, recycling and walking or cycling instead of driving (duh?!) But most of them have a conspicuous absence of harder-hitting issues, let alone information about cloth menstrual pads or diapers – I guess it’s just too “icky” to mention for modern eco-consumers?
Another source of concern is that the rest of these magazines is often just product “reviews” (undercover paid advertising) of things like “new” natural bodycare products (what’s new about another organic lip balm?), high-end home accessories, and one of my personal “pet” peeves: over-the-top “natural” pet accessories (organic cat toys, I ask you!) Read: “Shop your way to cleaning up the planet”!
Sandwiched between ads for cars and condos, I had to pause at full-page ad promoting Brita water filter’s newfound environmental consciousness (apparently using Brita filters is all about reducing the waste of bottled water, according to their new Filter for Good site – a great example of laughable greenwash marketing) For the more revealing side of this story, check out Take Back the Filter, where you can get the facts on how Clorox, Brita’s North American parent, has yet to devise a recycling program for those ubiquitous oh-so-green filters, despite the fact there has been one in place for years in Europe. So forgive me if I’m feeling a bit frustrated about what it actually means to be “green” these days, at least according to the material on my desk.
To me, at the end of the day all this information feels more like “10 easy ways to not really make a difference but look like you care”, which I guess is sort of OK, except for all that paper. I also have to ask – is it really that hard to figure out more environmentally responsible choices that we need a gazillion different guides? Whatever happened to common sense? Why is it that even simplicity itself is commodified (Real Simple, anyone?) I guess that having less magazines won’t be making it onto any of those “easy tips to save the planet” lists any time soon.