Sunday, March 14, 2010


Going green is one of the hottest issues around right now (apart from the recent string of celebrity sex scandals). Almost every major company (and a few definitely un-major ones) now have some product, service or initiative that promises to be green.

But are they?
The comic is a perfect example of greenwashing- its meaning, and its dangers.

There is plenty of evidence to prove plenty of these wrong. Resoundingly so. So much so that the term greenwashing was coined to refer to the "practice of companies disingenuously spinning their products and policies as environmentally friendly, such as by presenting cost cuts as reductions in use of resources.It is a deceptive use of green PR or green marketing"- quoted from Wikipedia.

Anyway, one of the biggest greenwashing scams are the cleaning up of rivers through the throwing of EM mudballs into rivers. The story goes that the microbes in the mudballs digest the pollution in the rivers. Hundreds of politicians (who really should know better, but hey, they ARE politicians), corporate figures (who need to be seen doing SOMETHING "green" for the dullards who are pressmen), NGOs, old wives (who need something to do in their retirement) and school kids (this is one reason why many grow into classic Malaysians), gather round and hurl balls of mud into rivers, then go home feeling all saintly because they made a difference.
Note the number of wealthy looking Malaysians and incredibly misled do-gooders. Wonder why none of the reporters had the sense to report the truth.

Some difference. It turns out that EM mudballs have to be thrown continually into a river to produce even a small effect, and this results in a tremendous cost to those involved. Money which could be spent really going green- like installing LED bulbs, or replacing the company cars with Priuses. In the worst case scenario, these disillusioned masses of old wives, CEOs and government officers could be doing serious damage to river ecology by throwing billions of microorganisms into the river and turning it into a giant microbe reactor site.

What if some sort of mutant emerges from Sungai Kinta and swallows up SMK. St. Michaels?
SMK. St. Michaels, located next to the banks of Sg. Kinta, where a massive, environmentally unfriendly project is going on. Lets hope they don't start throwing EM balls in there to 'go green'.

Another great lie we are all swallowing is the so-called green efforts by petroleum companies. I'm sure you've seen those wonderful chalk-drawn ads by Shell showing a complex but meaningless diagram that supposedly ends up with a bottle of green natural gas.

Excuse me?
Very nice, but can anyone at Shell tell us what in the name of Charles Darwin does this have to do with going green?

In case the numskulls at Shell haven't noticed, NG isn't much greener than petroleum. How about pouring those precious ad dollars into solar power at Shell offices? And that includes showing us how much of their money they put in, not one ad about some obscure wind plant somewhere .Or what about really throwing its' full weight behind a climate deal, instead of leaving world leaders afraid to offend the big oil companies with tough environmental laws? And, no, "clean coal" doesn't count as going green.
This is coal, and clean coal will only exist if the world's entire population became blind.

If you've actually held a piece of coal, you'll know what I'm talking about.


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  3. For your further enlightenment,officials at Shell or at the other Big Oil firms are not idiotic as they have portrayed themselves to be. They will oppose a full fledged effort to construct a green energy architecture because they want political power. A fossil fuel economy is in fact a brilliant method of centralizing economic and thus political power in the age of mixed economies. Besides centralized control over energy does bring them more profits than solar or wind or other green renewables simply because they can influence it's pricing easily. Solar power actually decentralizes economic power and encourages energy independence. Even if all solar panels or wind turbines were linked to a nationwide grid it will not have the same level of economic power projection on societies as fossil fuels would.

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