I am told a lot of my posts start with “So I was in a client’s house and..” So let me start this one by saying…
So I was in a clients house, she puts her hands on her hips and with a rather indignant tone says “Can you do something that’s a little more green? I would rather not use pesticides. I like to keep things organic.” For a moment I thought I might have to cut my own tongue out to avoid saying something sassy. Yes, sassy.
“Green” is possibly one of the most empty, bullshit ridden words of the 21st century. It’s up there with “Diet“. I look over at her counter and see jars full of quinoa and dried kale. Under her sink I see gallons of cleaning products. It’s obvious she is a devout vegetarian, not that there is anything wrong with that. It makes a lot of sense, I get it. I will also never be one so I’ll just get that out right now.
As much as the word green is well intentioned, it is often as destructive as any other colour you choose to live by. This is one of those people who use the word as many privileged folk do, to feel superior over their neighbor. Let’s take a look at 10 things you are actually getting when you are buying green or earth conscious:
1. A green label
2. a biodegradable product in a petroleum based package
3. a petroleum based product in a biodegradable package
4. Biodegradable you say? Sounds great! Now ask yourself what it degrades into. Methane? How much carbon credit was used to produce it, more or less than a regular product? How long does it take to decompose? I’ll bet my primitive meat eating ass (that sounds so terribly wrong but I’m leaving it in anyway because I am a manchild) the data was not designed for frozen Canadian landfills.
5. Green is NOT Organic, they are not synonyms. Green tends refers to the packaging, distribution and consumption of a product while organic is largely about the production, growth, harvesting and use of chemicals in that process. To be labeled organic there is often a measured and certified process, a standard if you will.
6. Corporations take full advantage of the fact they don’t need to follow any standard to look “green”. I know this because I do it too. I have leaves on my truck and get calls based completely on that. I may use the exact same chemicals as Joe’s KILL IT WITH FIRE! Extermination Services but the leaves win every time.
7. Quinoa. This is a great example. People spout of about the miracles of this dish all the time. Health wise they are probably right. But, your foo foo good feelings come at a price. Quinoa is a fantastic example of how our society loves to rob Peter to pay Paul.
8. You are going to avoid a cancer you have been deathly afraid of and instead you will get one you never heard of before. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people forgo using a pesticide over bleach and ammonia. Now your miniature bicycle riding, pet budgie is dead after inhaling chlorine gas. In fact, I’ve seen people use rubbing alcohol to kill bed bugs only to set fire to their place after lighting a candle. That’s not very green, and it’s a very real problem.
9. It’s not always WHAT you use as it is HOW you use it that makes something “green”. I can use about 10ml of product in crack and crevices to eliminate a problem. The average person will unload a 500ml can of raid into the air before calling me. We are also highly regulated. Back when DDT was being used people used to dust each other on the front lawn as a past time with the stuff, no license needed. What we use today is no less potent, we just use it responsibly and adherent to strict regulations.
10. What do you mean by organic? Pyrethrins are organic compounds derived from the chrysanthemum flower. Can it harm you? YES! Is bleach food safe? YES! Can I drink bleach? NO! See how this works? There is a big difference between what is natural and what is organic, See #5.
Look, I get it. Being green is about the shift in thought to become more aware about what goes into the earth and into our bodies. It is also full of blind ignorance and misinformation. So do yourself a favor and do the proper research on how many llama farmers got into a gun fight over quinoa land use or how your reusable shopping bag can cause infectious disease outbreaks (but they are green outbreaks!) before you gloat your lifestyle over the lowly blue collar pest control guy.
Now take your head out of your ass so I can put my boot in there.