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The Preachy Blog

One percent for the planet

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9/30/2011 -- One percent for the planet

Here is something positive, as promised:

Hold on - is the message "consume to save" again?!

Notice the first couple lines - "Keeping our planet beautiful can be as simple as drinking a beer". Not only this reminds me of a campaign some years ago in Germany, where the beer-drinking audience was encouraged to buy beer of a certain brand, because "for every crate of beer 1 square meter of rainforest will be protected". At the end of the campaign(s) the company announced to have saved "millions of square meters" of rainforest. E.g. 2008 "13,669,187 square meters". That is to say 14 square kilometers or 3400 acres.

Greenwashing? For one, the brewery did not actually buy any rainforest land as their campaign suggested, but only helped to protect forests in an already exsting nature preserve. But also the contribution-to-fuss ratio was kind of sad. Only a few cents for each crate of beer has been given for the cause, and the total support given must have been at some permille of their sales (at sales of at least 450 million each year, a conservation fund of 4 million has been established, over several years). You could do much more good by buying local beer from next town, saving the environment shipping of crates across the country, and donating dollars instead of cents directly to a conservation organization actually buying rainforest land.

Well, to be fair, the campaign made (some) people think about the cause, and potentially sparked additional initiatives. That is priceless. I like to think this campaign has been with good intentions.

Back to "onepercentfortheplanet". I like this a lot better :) It does not ask to buy more stuff, but offers to make amends, to give a percentage of our consumerism back to the planet. I like the idea of an "Earth tax (...) taxing ourselves for being polluters, for using up non-renewable resources" (founder Yvon Chouinard). May sound a bit like the church preaching to us "sinners" who have to ask for forgiveness, just that here it's not for eating apples, but for eating the whole planet. And preaching is what I can do, too.

What if we extended the 1% for the planet idea from businesses to consumers? I'd support a one percent (or more) tax on every dollar earned, as eventually every dollar earned will have been taken from this planet - and most dollars unsustainable at that.

So, let's start with a voluntary 1% of everyone's gross income for environmental programs - where, by the way, money spent on mentioned beer crates does not count. Find that on our practice-what-you-preach green tips list. Cheers!

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