The Healing Power of Carbon Neutrality

carbon pistolTerrific news! We’ve discovered a handgun company, Gang Green Firearms, whose entire product line is certifiably carbon neutral. They have certificates that say so.

Their pistols and automatics do what all other guns do – shoot bullets that kill living creatures – but, even so, you’ve got to admit that a carbon neutral gun has less negative impact on the environment and society than one that contributes greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. You could say that by being carbon neutral, the “bad” product has become “good,” and if not good then at least “acceptable.”

It’s miraculous and wonderful is what it is.

Those who would dismiss this marvelous achievement in handgun carbon neutrality as mere marketing propaganda are missing the more important point: Sure, it’s marketing, but at least it’s true!

We can all agree that any corporate product that is harmful to society, any corporate product that diminishes social justice instead of enlarging it, alchemically becomes totally OK if and when it can be shown to be a carbon neutral creation.carbonNeutralLogos

Bottled water, for example. Now, most folks bright enough to read this essay don’t need to be told how intrinsically awful the bottled water industry is. Most folks understand that monetizing a plastic bottle filled with a human necessity is wrong. Evil. Disgusting. Whatever inflammatory word you prefer. Controlling and profiting from a resource that belongs to no one is “free-market” capitalism at its worst, the antithesis of social justice. It’s old as colonialism: Take the public resources from beneath the feet of poor people and then sell it back to them at a profit (after paying them a pittance to extract the resource for your benefit). Many savvy corporations – including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle, among the world’s largest producers of ocean-bound trash – understand the benefits of marketing their filtered tap water as “environmentally friendly,” contained in bottles made from recycled plastic and plants. And then, voila – they’re not so bad after all.

Like the carbon neutral handgun company.

CarbonNeutralMythThe latest corporation to attempt this magical trick is Icelandic Glacial water. In full-page advertisements in the Los Angeles Times, whose readers understand they deserve the very best of everything, including water shipped in from Fiji, Icelandic Glacial advertise themselves as carbon neutral – and, as previously discussed, exempt from all other social crimes that bottling water normally engenders. Now one sees their premium elixir (sold for premium prices) in the local Vegan Community Justice Cafe, and other places where carbon neutrality is king.

We are not victims of marketing (even though, admittedly, one of the signs of being victimized by marketing is to be unaware that you’ve been propagandized). We are conscious consumers who have decided that intrinsically unjust products can be rehabilitated, their sins cleansed and past crimes forgiven. It’s a first step toward social justice, right? Being environmentally friendly while you sell – even if what you sell is a jar of sunshine, a breath of air, or anything else that belongs to no one and everyone – surely makes the world a better place. Doesn’t it?

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