Prostituting Green

If you go to the “Going Green” website, you will find the following list of things to do to help the planet from A to Z.

 

  • Adopt something
  • Avoid fast food
  • Bike instead of ride
  • Boycott a product
  • Buy products made of recycled paper
  • Change a light bulb
  • Clean up a stream or park
  • Close the refrigerator door
  • Collect aluminum cans
  • Contribute to a good cause
  • Create a compost pile
  • Cut down on packaging
  • Donate your toys to a worthy cause
  • Don’t buy aerosols
  • Draw up a petition
  • Eat organic produce
  • Elect “green” candidates
  • Feed the birds
  • Find out how to dispose of hazardous waste
  • Go to the zoo
  • Grow a garden
  • Have a “green” picnic
  • Hold on to balloons
  • Identify energy wasters
  • Insulate your home
  • Invite a speaker
  • Join an environmental group
  • Keep the car at home
  • Learn about your community
  • Look at labels
  • Make scratch pads
  • Notify the authorities
  • Observe the three R’s (Refuse, Reuse, Recycle)
  • Organize your friends
  • Plant a tree
  • Pro test animal cruelty
  • Quit throwing away batteries
  • Recycle everything
  • Reuse a bag
  • Spend your money wisely
  • Stop a leak
  • Support green companies
  • Take a hike
  • Talk to your parents/children
  • Turn off the lights
  • Use recycled paper
  • Visit a recycling center
  • Work for the environment
  • Write a letter
  • Exercise your rights
  • Yell at a litterer
  • Zero in on specifics
Whew! It’s quite a list! If you are like most people, you had a difficult time just reading the list much less actually trying to do everything on it! But if all of us just did a few of these things, there is no doubt our earth would be a better place. My beef, however, is with companies that stamp themselves green or eco-friendly and are just using “green” as a way to line their pockets with green!  Recently there is talk about buying an eco-friendly or “green” engagement ring. This would be a diamond that came from Canada, making the buyer feel confident its a conflict-free diamond. It would have a setting that was cast from recycled gold or platinum so the earth doesn’t get re-injured or scarred with the waste that is incurred during mining. The term “dirty gold” is being thrown around to describe anybody who uses new gold versus recycled gold! Let me tell you, I have seen a lot of scams in my life, but hustling people out of their good, hard earned money, to buy an inferior product that isn’t actually better for the environment, is nuts! For starters, not everyone agrees that buying Canadian is all green because the mining in Canada is displacing Polar Bears. In recycling gold, even if it is processed correctly, it will still be cut with new copper, nickel, zinc, palladium, etc, which isn’t recycled and strips the ground in the identical manner that mining for precious metals and coal does.
Look, I’m the first person to agree with the idea of loving our Earth like we love ourselves. But the second someone uses a good cause to rip people off, I have a problem accepting its sincerity.  There is no such thing as an environmentally friendly engagement ring. New gold, old gold, Canadian diamond, Botswana diamond; it doesn’t make a difference! If the goal is to not hurt the earth at all, do not buy ANY jewelry. And while you’re at it, don’t buy any vegetables because it, too, damages the earth. Don’t buy any clothing because of the sweatshops and working conditions overseas.  In fact, if you really want to help the earth, stop consuming anything. The longer you live the more you will affect the environment. Should we outlaw old people? My point is we are consumers. As long as we are alive we will consume something. Once we consume it, we take it away from someone or something. That’s life! If we just used our common sense, we can adopt a balance between nature and ourselves. It may be practical for you to sell your car and bike everywhere but it probably isn’t. Doing what we can, even if it is just small things, can make a world of difference.  But the minute we let snake oil salesmen try to sell us gold that has a five-times higher likelihood of falling apart and diamonds that may or may not have come from a particular country under the guise of being “green” is just taking our common sense and throwing it away. And as everyone knows, you always want to recycle common sense. 
by Fred Cuellar, author of the best-selling book “How to Buy a Diamond.” More questions? Ask the Diamond Guy®