It seems that the days of appealing to our finer senses to “do what’s right” may soon be replaced with what I call a “ball peen hammer” tactic. The first such indication came at Super Bowl 2010 with the Audi Green Car commercial in which the Green Police invaded privacy to arrest people for using incandescent light bulbs and throwing an orange peel in the trash instead of the compost. Despite the cheerful, rather tongue-in-cheek tone, this ad for a hybrid car really “fueled” a discussion around eco-facism and drew comments from viewers like “green is the new red.” Is it really such a far-fetched idea that we’ll soon be forced into conservation practices and why does it make people so angry?
More recently an Australian PSA against childhood obesity basically equated giving kids fast food with cooking them up a spoonful of heroin. \”You wouldn\’t inject your children with junk, so why are you feeding it to them?\” the PSA asks. Is the comparison too harsh? Aren\’t parents more easily convinced to be accountable for the health and well being of their children?
And then last week, a hugely unpopular attempt at “green humor” to support the UK\’s 10:10 environmental campaign showed children and adults who didn\’t support the campaign being blown to bloody bits — literally. Entitled No Pressure, the film features X-Files\’ Gillian Anderson and English footballer Peter Crouch with soundtrack music by Radiohead, and was intended to encourage viewers to take personal action in reducing their carbon footprints.
Instantly labeled “inappropriate” by the sponsors of the campaign, the video was discredited, flagged by YouTube\’s user community, and now you must verity that you are 18 to view it (which I find interesting since the kids I know don\’t think a game is fun or a movie is good if stuff and people aren\’t blowing up continuously.)
The film drew plenty of horrified and righteously indignant posts, including one by my business partner who is appalled at the video and states that what we need is rational discussion, personal commitment and radical change.
I agree that we need those things, but it’s just not happening – or at least not fast enough. On the one hand, I believe that sustainability, at its heart, is really a spiritual issue and only attainable if each individual in the world is ethically bound to this planet and to “doing what’s right.” On the other hand, I am daily alarmed by the arrogance, entitlement and lack of accountability that pervades modern society. Too many people have a “let somebody else (like the government or big business) do it” attitude. And in the end, if that’s what the people want, that’s what the people will get. If the majority of citizens of the world don’t take this movement personally and seriously, sooner or later the “green police” will have to make them “do what’s right” whether they want to or not.
Is it time to get out the ball peen hammer on these issues? Do we need to start threatening people into taking care of the planet? I don’t know. It’s a sad turn of events and I hate the deeper implications, but something has to change and fast. We’ve asked nicely and it doesn’t seem to be working. Maybe the time has come for No More Mr. Nice Green. Please convince me otherwise!