The Unsuitablog

Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!

Green Youth Movement: The Frightening Face of Young Consumerism

Posted by keith on May 14th, 2010

An impending sense of dispair tends to fall over me when I open my mailbox in the morning. Alongside the genuine spam comes a pile of cut-and-paste guff that spews from the keyboards of public relations firms who have been paid a few bucks to send out sycophantic press releases on behalf of their clients: rather like opening a tin of spam and finding, rather than the glutinous pink stuff you expected, it has also acquired a green fungal glaze.

I have been holding back from opening one particular mail for a few days, maybe expecting it to gently expire and bury itself in my Junk folder. But it refuses to die, and so I have just opened something entitled: “Girl Meets Green”. Even the title is wrong: did “Girl” come across a pulsating blob of verdant matter and politely introduce herself? Maybe “Girl” fell in a vat of paint, was heroically rescued, and has looked in the mirror for the first time since this life-changing event.

Or maybe it’s just lazy PR-speak for another light-green bit of eco-hypocrisy

Hi Keith,

Get ready, because the world is about to get a little
greener, thanks to one ambitious 17-year-old.

The “Green Teen,” a.k.a. Ally Maize, and founder of the Green
Youth Movement is joining forces with the internationally-recognized
environmental company, RecycleBank, to change the world, one city at a time.

Would you like to read the full press release and find out how?

Best,

Annie

What would be the point of reading an even longer version? I’m off to the website of the Green Youth Movement, to see how they are going to make the world greener.

Green Youth Movement’s goal is to educate kids all over the world on living green, and to one day establish this very important information as part of the curriculum in our elementary schools. The mission of GYM is to educate kids and teens about environmental awareness, eco-friendly behavior and small steps that collectively embraced by this age-group can make a big difference for the future.

My name is Ally Maize and I am passionate about the environment and I am taking a stance to help with issues regarding global warming. I have built this site not only as a resource for those people seeking information but for those people who want to try to make a difference and help our environment.

As founder of GYM, I hope to one day garner the support of politicians and educators to create a practical and research based environmental course of study that would ultimately become integrated in every elementary school education curriculum across the nation.

It is my belief that providing youth with meaningful and practical methods of conserving and utilizing resources is the key to changing the direction of global warming. As the effects of global warming continue to advance from a theoretical construct to a reality, it is necessary that each of us assume responsibly to make a difference. Establishing The Green Youth Movement has been my way to embrace what I regard as one of the most significant issue that plagues our future.

GYM aims to enlighten young children and their parents about the vulnerable state of our environment and challenge them to think about the world around them.

I have met some incredible young people with vision, passion and the willingness to stick two fingers up at the system in order to create some kind of change. I have learnt from some young people what it feels like to be a concerned person in a society that values shopping, celebrity and vacations above the fundamental need to have a functioning ecosystem. I have seen young people cry – including my own children – at the thought that certain types of humans are capable of such horrific acts in the pursuit of wealth and status. Oh, that I had such knowledge at such an early age – what could I have done by now?

Well, if I had been Ally Maize, I could have got to meet Miley Cyrus, Renee Zellweger and that prime example of eco-conscious thinking, Paris Hilton. I could also, as per the above introduction to GYM, have become utterly deluded that small, superficial actions create big change; adopted the lie that politicians have any part to play in a sustainable future; in order to alienate part of my audience entirely, I would have referred to “teens” as “young children”; and finally, I would have got my parents to by me an electric car for when I passed my driving test – well, she does live in Beverley Hills…

Oh, but it gets worse – far worse!

The web site is packed full of tips for a Green Lifestyle, the vast majority straight out of high school textbooks, but also plenty that have been conveniently melded to suit the high-flying, Beverley Hills lifestyle that all Green Consumers should also aspire to. Here’s some classic advice on standby power:

Most people think that when you turn something off, it actually turns off. Most people assume that it stops drawing power. Unfortunately, that’s not true in the case of most electric devices. Most of them just hover in standby mode.

The “Phantom load” is the energy that is sapped by appliances when they are plugged in, but not turned on. By turning everything off or unplugging, you save big on your energy bill. In the average American home, 40% of all electricity is used to power appliances while they are turned off.

* Turn off lights, TV, computer, DVD player, cell phone charger, and stereo when finished using them.
* Reduce your demand. Do you really need 2 TV’s in one room?
* Remove chargers from the wall when you’re not charging.

So what does this actually tell us? First, that it’s ok to have loads of gadgets in your house as long as you switch them off, and by “loads” I mean a TV in every room (so long as it’s not TWO TVs in every room). Second, that despite other advice talking about air conditioning (“Installing a programmable thermostat to keep air conditioning at 78 degrees F when it’s hot outside”), somehow devices on standby (or rather “turned off”) consume 40% of electricity in the home – clearly utter nonsense!

Let’s see what GYM tells us about travel – I would assume it would be to avoid flying and driving, and to try to base your life around your local area as much as possible:

The greening of the travel industry-whether away for business or pleasure is now required.

Here are some tips to help you choose where to spend your travel dollar and green-up your trip:

* Greening your travel starts even before you leave home by unplugging unused appliances, turning down the thermostat of the hot water heater, adjusting your AC/heater thermostat and stopping your newspaper.
* Book flights electronically and book flights with airlines that recycle the waste created when serving food and beverages to passengers.

Stop right there! Why are you booking flights, electronically or otherwise – and what difference does it make how you book “your flights” when you are intent on taking a hunk of metal into the air in opposition to gravity? Ah, I see, it’s ok if the airline recycles their waste – don’t worry about the carbon dioxide. Do I sense the Beverley Hills lifestyle clouding Ally’s view of what sustainable travel is?

I would also love her to explain why she is heating water in her house when she has gone on holiday…

Sprinklers:

Use a sprinkler timer. Timers will automatically shut off your sprinkler system after a set period so you dont have to remember. Also use sprinklers that emit large drops of water, low and close to the ground (not the sidewalk or street), and water early in the morning. This will ensure that the water soaks into the soil instead of evaporating.

Whoa! Where did that come from? Ok, it came from the section called “Green for Home and Work“, which strangely omits to mention the option of using water butts, watering cans and getting rid of that water-hogging lawn because LIFE IS NOT A FASHION SHOW!

Some might say I’m being harsh on a 17 year old, but then not all 17 year olds have their Mom and Dad to buy them an electric car with custom plates, employ a huge “Board of Advisors” or pay for a PR company which doesn’t even bother to check the nature of the people to which they send out press releases – yes, it was sent to news@unsuitablog.org.

If this is the face of the future then I would rather sew my eyelids together.

8 Responses to “Green Youth Movement: The Frightening Face of Young Consumerism”

  1. knutty knitter Says:

    Well, there you have it people – welcome to the next generation :)

    Fortunately only some of it.

    viv in nz

  2. Mark Says:

    This “article,” if you can even call it that, is ridiculous. In addition to committing a bevy of spelling errors and grammatical mistakes, you seem to be more angry about the fact that Maize lives in Beverly Hills. Teaching the younger generation about environmental awareness and responsibility is a positive thing, whether Maize lives in Beverly Hills or not. It is certainly NOT negated by the fact that she owns an electric car or leverages the expertise of a Board of Advisors. In addition to completely missing the point, this post seems to be entirely focused on ripping apart a 17-year-old’s mission to engage her peers in doing something good for the planet. Perhaps your “impending sense of despair” is derived purely from your existence, because you are a miserable, dumb person.

  3. keith Says:

    Hi Mark, good to know you. The only spelling errors and grammatical mistakes (bearing in mind I am using British English) would be the bits I copied from Ally’s page – I recommend you take a look there and let me know if it would pass a copy reader’s eyes. But I chose not to point that out because I only report on what I consider to be material, i.e. someone who has been brought up to believe the “world” is what she sees in her neighbourhood (B.E.) and all “change” only needs to be in relation to that. I notice you ignore my specific criticisms of her advice on Travel, Sprinklers and Standby Power: are these too “dumb” for you to acknowledge :-)

  4. Viktor Says:

    Looks like Ally’s mom is a real estate agent in Beverly Hills: http://www.rochellemaize.com/

    “Greening your neighbourhood one home at a time”

    Looking at her house listings, there is nothing “green’ about these homes!

  5. keith Says:

    Good call, Viktor. Like mother, like daughter, eh?

  6. LS Says:

    @Mark: I will call Ally’s movement what it is: a waste of time that only helps hide the real dangers that we all face. As Keith noted, unplugging electrical devices before you jump on a plane is not “green”. It is stupid.

    If Ally can’t work that out, then her advice and motivation isn’t worth a pinch of spit. Encouraging her and the people she lulls into a false sense of security is really rather cruel.

    They (and everyone else) need to know that so that they can face the real problems and take some real action.

    The future for these young people is more oil spills, less energy, less food, more fires, more floods, more wars etc. Basically more of all the bad stuff. Not jetting around the world on holiday (after turning off your appliances).

  7. keith Says:

    Thanks, LS. It would appear that Ally’s father is a convicted fraudster (http://www.mortgagefraudblog.com/index.php/weblog/permalink/mortgage_banker_agrees_to_plead_guilty_in_property_flipping_fraud_scheme/) with a, possibly former, wealth running into tens of millions of dollars. Along with a mother who sells multi-million dollar real estate, and development land (which is apparently Eco Friendly) I’m almost starting to feel a little sorry for her having no concept of reality. Maybe someone should take her by the hand and lead her away from the trappings of wealth for a while…

  8. Blog Bibliography « Youth & Consumerism Says:

    [...] Farnish, Keith, (2010, May 14). Green Youth Movement: The Frightening Face of Young Consumerism. Message posted to http://thesietch.org/mysietch/keith/2010/05/14/green-youth-movement-the-frightening-face-of-young-co… [...]

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