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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Repackaged for mass marketing

Obligatory disclaimer...

One of the books I'm currently reading right now is called Rural Renaissance; Renewing the Quest for the Good Life. The book is very autobiographical, written in a conversational tone. The authors, John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist talk about their switch from highly paid Chicago ad. execs to back-to-earth types running a B&B on their self-sustaining property. I have been pleasantly surprised to find that it doesn't quite romanticize things as much as I thought it would. What I'm really liking is that this book is old enough that they talk about the things they did, from re-using materials to alternative energy to energy efficient appliances, from a point of view of being environmentally responsible, conserving energy and so on. Not a single reference to "carbon pollution," green house gases or CO2 anywhere.

Compare this to a series of pamphlets I picked up from the library not too long ago. These are all about how we can make changes in our homes to reduce our CO2 emissions and do our part to stop climate change.

So what do these pamphlets advise? Things like using caulking and weatherstripping to reduce heat and energy loss. Ways to improve heating systems for efficiency and energy savings. Insulating our basements, dealing with condensation, and ways to conserve electricity.

All of this is information that's been out there for years, and is just as useful today as they were 10 years ago. The only difference is that in the past, these sorts of pamphlets were markets as ways for home owners to save money by conserving energy, prevent damage to their homes, and generally improve their homes' efficiency. Now, it's being marketed as ways to reduce our CO2 emissions and reduce our impact on climate change.

While I appreciate that the city is willing to put this information out for free for home owners, even though it's useless to us in our apartment, I find it unfortunate that they felt it necessary to repackage it all to market to the AGW mindset. They even developed a whole new organization (or did they just change the name of an old one?) to do this., came up with new logos and layouts, and redesigned the pamphlets themselves from what I remember seeing in the past. Our tax dollars at work!

Re-branding costs money, and it's coming out of our pockets for no real reason. The advice given in these pamphlets isn't going to reduce CO2 emissions or affect climate change anymore now then they did before AGW exploded into our common psyche, and I doubt any more people will actually make the changes advised than before, either. The people who would be motivated to make these changes would be motivated to do so regardless of how it's marketed. The people who wouldn't be - won't!

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