Want to buy a day's worth of carbon offsets with your chocolate bar? How about donating to breast cancer research with your breath mints? Candy with a conscience is one of the latest trends to come out of the annual confectioner's convention as manufacturers jostle to grab the attention of consumers on increasingly crowded store shelves. New Zealand's Bloomsberry chocolates had been selling trendy, tongue-in-cheek chocolate bars in the United States for less than two years when they were approached by Whole Foods to develop Climate Change Chocolate. Wind turbines and a huge footprint cover the chocolate bar's boxes and the wrapper is speckled with tips on how to be more green like "let the sun shine in. Opening curtains and blinds to capture the warmth of the sun saves on heating and your cat will love you for it!".... Marketed as the "first taste of a lower-carbon lifestyle," Bloomsberry donates 55 cents from each bar to TerraPass to pay for 133 pounds of carbon offsets, which is the average American's daily carbon impact.... "We've sold enough in the first quarter that it's comparable to taking 900 cars off the road for a year," said Kerry Laramie, vice president sales and marketing for Bloomsberry's US division.... "That's 9.3 million pounds of carbon offsets."
I'm all for doing something to make a difference for the environment. Call me a cynic, but I'm still not convinced that the idea of carbon offsets isn't just a socially-acceptable way of continuing our wasteful, carbon-intensive lifestyles while merely tinkering around the margins.
We drive hybrids, yet we conveniently ignore the toxic stew resident in the batteries that power these cars. There are others examples of things deemed "green", and yet I'm not all certain they stand up to serious scrutiny. This isn't to say that this should be used an excuse not to change our collective behavior. I am concerned, though, that insufficient thought has been given to things and behaviors considered "green". It would seem that, at least in the case of hybrid vehicles at, there's a willing suspension of disbelief...or at least a willingness to ignore the reality that their batteries are composed of toxic metals and toxic chemical compounds that are anything but "green".
If we are to make a difference- truly and honestly make a difference- we as a society need to do a far better job of evaluating both our lifestyles and the way we choose to go about trying to reduce our carbon footprint. We can do this, and we can make a different, but we're not going to be able to do it without some forethought and some serious evaluation of how we live our lives. There's no "easy" or "painless" way to go about reducing our carbon footprint, and if we don't end up thinking about what we're doing, we'll end up feeling good about ourselves while making no discernible difference.
WE DESERVE BETTER.