Earth Day - Dia da Terra

Since today is Earth day I will write about "Green Morons". Just what is a "Green Moron"?
A green Moron is someone lacking a minimum of common sense and trying to be green. They will buy any ideas or products the market will advertise as "green", "ecological" or "organic".

These will include:

- Traveling by train instead of plane in countries were the electricity for the train is generated in coal power plants.
- Buying a digital thermometer to substitute the old leaded one. Digital thermometers contain an LCD display and a lithium based battery (both things are environmental non friendly and toxic).
- Switch from incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent ones in the house but leave "pilot" lights on all the time in their electronic equipment.

- Substitute plastic supermarket bags (non-biodegradable ) with paper ones (chlorine bleached, produced by killing trees).
- Take all their domestic packaging material trash to the recycler, but buy the less expensive stuff on supermarket regardless of how much non-green packaging is used in it.
- Think IKEA products are environmentally friendly ( Since when tons of disposable cardboard packaging are "green"? Is non-solid wood furniture that will be in the trash in 5 years an environmentally friendly product?)
- Biofuels are the solution for our cars ( Sure! never mind people starving because they cannot afford some basic food anymore).

- Hydrogen is a clean fuel with zero emissions ( Sure! But before we put it in our car it needs to be produced and it is not produced by a green process at all. Furthermore to avoid embrittlement the car engine will need a lot of Nickel and Chromium parts- Both coming from dirty mines and dirtily produced !)

Trying to be "Green" is indeed very difficult if you don´t have any scientific/ technological knowledge and if the sellers are not honest. An official study about 1000 products sold in the Canadian market as "green" reached the following conclusions:

99% of the products had misleading green claims.

The main "greenwashings" were:
1) Hidden trade-off - Energy efficient electronic products containing hazardous materials.
2) No proof - Official certification agencies are yet to be born in the world. So until today it is not possible to prove that a certain products is "organic" or "green". Despite that you will see a lot o products in the market with a label "certified organic" or similar. Just who exactly certified it is a mystery...
3) Vagueness/ Inaccuracy- Products claiming to be "100% natural" containing dangerous natural products. Yes, the fact that they are natural does not exclude that they are bad.
4) Irrelevance - An example: Products claiming to be "CFC free". CFCs were banned decades ago therefore there are no products in the market with CFCs. And the word recyclable does not mean that it will be recycled.
5) Oxymorons - Advertising Organic cigarettes or Hybrid SUV. Will cigarettes be less bad if they are organic? Will an SUV be green if it is an hybrid? Here they are just applying a green concept to totally ungreen products.
6) Lies/Fibbing - In a few cases it was also found that claims of certification by international environmental standards were false.

What makes an aware consumer:
- read consumer reviews and general science and technology news often.
- learn the exact meaning of buzz words like carbon neutral, recyclable, biodegradable, organic, locavore, ecological footstep... To understand clearly the concepts.
- Question yourself + Ask for expert advice. Do you really need to buy a certain product? Is it really what they advertise? Think about all the possible environmental issues a product can have, don't focus on just one.


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