David points out some of the ways in which capitalism – usually viewed as the great enemy of greenism – co-opts green ideas for its own moneymaking ends. David’s examples: Hotels now try to guilt guests into reusing their towels, relieving the hotel of the cost of doing its laundry and Supermarkets now sell reusable grocery bags, relieving them of the need to provide bags, paper or plastic, and making the shopper do the work of schlepping their bags to the store.
If you prefer, you could say that these are examples of how businesses and greens can find themselves in a win-win situation (at the expense of the consumer). That capitalism and profit are the enemies of the planet and of all good in the world is, of course, one of the sustaining myths of modern times. But myths, usually driven by idealism or marketing or both, permeate everything we do, say, buy and think. Here, in no particular order, are a few notable myths of the noughties:
1) Organic food tastes better (“organic” is such a broad church that this can’t possibly be meaningful)
2) Blueberries (or whatever) are ‘superfoods’
3) Gordon Brown is the safe and steady one (obviously that one vanished as soon as he became PM)
4) Global warming will mean that by 2010 we’ll be wearing shorts and having barbecues in January. I don’t know who said this back in the early noughties but someone will have done. However, as Peter B has pointed out, our days of sniggering at such things are probably numbered, since the gradual slippage in terminology from “global warming” to “climate change” means that literally any meteorological circumstances will be consistent with millenarian predictions.
5) Anything that is normally expressed as a chemical formula is innately bad
6) Yes we can.
Got any more?