Hanging Out Day- How (As Church Lady Used to Say) Convenient?
It's National Hanging Out Day today- so this post is hanging out right in the sun for the occasion...
Most media I regularly (and not) consume seem to have gone crazy with "green issues" these past few weeks (they've suddenly all felt it's important to have Earth Day on the editorial calendar). Time Magazine ran a 51 things you can do list in its April issue. This week's San Francisco Bay Guardian weekly was blooming 65% green focused editorial. Even Cosmopolitan had its little How to Help Save the Planet article in May's issue. Boy did that seem out of place. Hey, gotta keep up with reader interests, right? Now, is that because the target readership is getting younger?
Vanity Fair and Oakland Magazine have devoted the entire May issues to various focuses and topics all within the genre of the green movement (VF boasts its 2nd annual green issue). Honorable mention by the way to VF's delectable "Dante's Inferno: Green Edition" illustration by Barry Blitt on p. 264-5. In the drawing, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) is pronounced one of the three mouths of Satan (guess who the other two are) for calling global warming a "hoax" perpetrated on Americans by alarmist, liberal media. Al Gore drawn dressed like a saint is at the top with a Prius. In the Vestibule: The Indifferent -- defined as the 50m Americans who voted to re-elect The Shrub in '00. In the First Circle: Limbo --the 62m Americans who voted to re-elect in '04. It's a charming piece of art...so to speak...lot of blog posts I didn't get around to all in one detailed diagram.
In Net Impact's Leadership and CSR call yesterday, Seventh Generation CEO Jeffrey Hollender claims he has seen more growth in his business in the last 12 months than in the entire 19 years the company has been in business; about half of that time the struggle was to turn a profit. I know this has already passed through media previously, but it's worth re-iterating that "approximately every 90 days" Hollender goes down to Bentonville, AR as an unpaid advisor to work with Wal-Mart on transforming their supply chain. Now that's values in action. Hollender believes that just because a company isn't doing the right things, it doesn't mean steps shouldn't be taken to move them further toward integrating better values throughout the business.
All these "what you can do" lists are all carefully marketed and crafted for the average, overworked, half-engaged schlemiel. Implied, but only if you really think about it is, that what's often implied but rarely stated in these lists, is that making changes in our lifestyle can be easy- new products and services are out there to allow us to not have to think or act too hard about working on adjusting our lifestyle. We're stuck in a good vs. evil, sinner vs. redeemer culture and the lists carefully allow us to go into the grey area so we can feel better and take small steps--because everything counts.
But the best product and convenience marketers are working hard to not let the discussion fall into the perception that yes, we might need to give up or significantly adjust a few creature comforts to make an impact or, reduce a footprint. They are clearly avoiding having to talk about making trades, as a society, that include how we (here in the U.S.) handle, manage and expect convenience. Some of us are willing to spend more time- like me hanging our laundry (seen here), others prefer their convenience on the front end. My husband would prefer to see new electronics get put out that are more efficient rather than turn stuff off; in other words give it to me in a new product, I'll continue to consume to make that change. P.S. This is not necessarily bad, but neither is having to buy products all the time to integrate a more balanced approach necessarily good.
How we each choose to step up to the plate and take responsibility, or not, is our own choice.
And then at the end of the day- it rained on this batch of laundry; on a separate day, half the wash got saturated by the yard sprinklers I forgot I turned back on. We keep trying to find the right balance.