Greenwashing: A Dirty Past

Have you ever opened a magazine and seen an advertisement by Chevron that proudly announces that they support the development of new energy sources? Does this seem incongruent with the fact that they are posting record profits from the lack of new technologies being available to the public? A recent ad in The New Yorker claims:

“The world demands more and more energy. Where will it come from? We at Chevron are working to provide more of it, both responsibly and efficiently. And we’re developing alternatives. But it is just as important for all of us to do more with less” (The New Yorker, Oct 6, 2008 – last page).

Really? Isn’t this counterintuitive? Do oil companies really want us to cut back on our consumption? Yet they are spending millions in advertising to convince us that they are concerned about the environment and the energy crisis facing the American people. You have just been a victim of “greenwashing” advertising.

Apple Dictionary defines “greenwashing” as “disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image”. Greenwashing can be found in all areas of our media and culture and is an attempt to ease the discomfort people are feeling about the waste generated by our society. With news everyday about global climate change and pollution issues, we need to seek ways to truly become a green society without the false “greenwashing” that we are marketed.

- Gina Mason

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