The greenwashing day charade
Muse #456 - I worked today
Hooray. It was Earth Day. Finally, I worked today. By that I mean for the first time I started my new job in November I went into work. Did the commute up and down to the downtown office.
Well, on the plus side I did get a walking tour of the four floors of my office building. And it was totally empty but for a soul or two on each floor. And I did make some social connection with the 12 or so folks who turned up for our two-hour Earth Day garbage collection walk around town. And, in these pandemic times, it was a wonderful thing to do. And finally, I got pizza for lunch out of it, so it was all good.
But on the other hand, the earth day garbage collection was a greenwashing charade. We meandered around town picking up some garbage and mostly taking photos and videos which will be engineered to go on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to show how socially responsible we are. My interview snippets might even make it there.
I did collect two large bags of garbage, and if there was a competition of who collected the most on our team, I would win by a mile. I collected so much that I had to leave one bag behind in a dump on the way. And foolishly carried a heavy bag back all the way for two hours with painful arms and shoulders being the net effect. And yes, the large bag of garbage made the final photoshoot. Thankfully. Phew. And, Mission accomplished.
When you look at it deeply, we do these one day a year and expect the world to change. It made me wonder whether democracy and freedom are worth their merit at all. Twenty years ago when I lived in Singapore I observed their version of a little bit autocratic democracy and some implementation of rules to keep clean kept the city-state spotless. I don’t know where the balance lies.
Whether it was worth spending time with some people? Absolutely. Whether it was worth spending my time, money, and pollution on the commute. For all of us who came there. Pizza boxes, gloves that were thrown away adding to the trash, garbage pick-up sticks a couple of which broke and were also thrown away - for all the effort of creating more garbage with the work that we did. It tickles my sensibilities and boggles my mind.