Friday, February 26, 2010. 10am–4pm. UC Berkeley Campus, Pauley Ballroom.
PLAYgreen festival II: “an initiative that provides eco-friendly resources, news, information and solutions for individuals who want to play, work and live a greener lifestyle.”
I had woken up early that day, cautiously picked out two of my least favorite t-shirts and stuffed them into my backpack. I was extremely excited about the PLAYgreen festival and eager to exchange my two old t-shirts for a new Anvil organic cotton one. Not only was I receiving a new shirt, but I was doing much more than that. Their slogan had said, “Bring a tee. Save a tree. Make a difference.” Now, who doesn’t want to do that? Additionally, Anvil will donate another shirt to Berkeley Homeless shelter. Consider it my good deed of the day or a small simple act on my part for society and mother earth, regardless, I felt good about myself.
That feeling didn’t quite last. I admit, I had a blast at the event, eating chocolate samples, playing games, and learning more about eco-friendly product and processes. It seemed like guilty pleasure. I had just turned in two old t-shirts that will be transformed into ARCH Paper, a beautiful, cotton-made paper made from recycled clothing, but already in my hands, were countless paper ads, two hats, two other t-shirts, and other candies packaged in plastic.
How eco-friendly is all this? Is this truly the way to promote a greener lifestyle? Is this excess material-goods consumption truly necessary? Finally, whose fault is it?
Perhaps I am to be judged guilty for taking all these goodies. But does the responsibility solely lie with me? I find myself stuck in a two way trap, a consumer wanting the best deals with the mentality “more is always better,” yet also wanting to be the moral citizen creating better change for our world. It is our time to act, to find our rightful place in this trap, as business owners and as social citizens.
You raise a great question here. We're told we can go green by buying “green” products. But can we really buy our way out of this mess? Having all this stuff — much more than we need — helped get us into this mess in the first place. Will MORE STUFF really help?
The ideal is to have products made The Right Way — and to have fewer of them. They would be more expensive — people need to earn a reasonable wage — but they would last longer and would have better values embedded in them.
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