Green Monster
April 14, 2009 - 12:00pm

The green giant doesn’t seem so jolly these days. (No, I’m not referring to the iconic vegetable purveyor.) The widespread movement toward ecological responsibility has become quite the behemoth, but the warm fuzzies that initially accompanied it don’t tickle as much as they itch these days.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to see the human race take greater care and concern for our potentially devastating impact on Mother Earth. But I’m uncomfortable that it’s taken on the sheen of a fad. It could so easily turn the wrong corner as it continues to steamroll forward.

I fear a backlash. It’s human nature to grow weary of a repetitive message, no matter its merit. As ubiquitous as this one is, how could it escape eventually slipping from its apex and falling into the realm of preachy condescension?

What will instigate this demise and make it all the more potent is the bandwagon syndrome. In just one example, during October’s High Point Market, I would not be exaggerating to say that in each and every showroom and booth I visited, the marketing pitch focused on the company’s green efforts. If actions truly lived up to words, we’d be in great shape to combat the looming disaster of global warming. But so much of it is clearly tiresome PR. I certainly wouldn’t name any names, but let’s be honest: With every single business desperately trying to take advantage of this bonanza before they get left behind—or before the bubble bursts—some attempts are bound to be half-baked.

 If the effort isn’t 100 percent, I’d rather a company just  dispense with the charade, instead of lowering the bar for the movement as a whole. Baby steps are okay, as long as we’re always moving forward and staying on the right track.

In the midst of the hoopla, we cannot forget the importance of the underlying issues—and especially our industry’s integral role in the solutions. To that end, we’ve developed a new quarterly department devoted to energy efficiency and green practices: Watt Watch. We’ve no wish to contribute another voice to the cacophony, but there’s no denying the need to keep abreast of the charge. The crisis won’t go away, even if the spotlight does.       



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