Behind the Greenwashing

To my surprise, greenwashing is a much larger problem then I originally thought. Greenwashing is when a company decides to promote their product as “green” or “sustainable” although it isn’t at all. Probably one of the most shocking way greenwashing is used is to sell toys. Many toy products that can be bought in stores now-a-days have labels like “lead paint free.” This is all great when it is actually true. It is startling to hear of such cases like in 2007 when a toy company, Mattel, who produces Barbies and many other popular children’s toys, had a recall on most of its toys because of the discovery of lead paint on the toys. This isn’t the first instance of this happening either. 

Toys R Us is another culprit in the greenwashing facade of the toy marketing world. Because going green is becoming more and more mainstream, more and more parents are expecting a certain standard for what they are going to let their kids play with. This may be why Toys R Us and other large toy stores are beginning the switch to reusable bags. This is great for cutting back on the use of plastic bags, but what about the toys? If kids are playing and being poisoned because of toxic chemicals on their toys, then what do these bags do then? This facade is used by many to employ that they are in fact sustainable when in reality it’s a front.

The dangers of greenwashing doesn’t just stop with toxic toys. It is also important to pay close attention to food, cosmetics, cleaning products, and even airlines. The move towards wanting more green and sustainable products is great, but it is getting lost in translation between companies and consumers. It is our job as consumers to look out for these labels and to fact check the label.

Food Inc. and the Value of Life

Just recently in class we watched a documentary called Food Inc. In this documentary, the workings of the food industry come to light. Watching this documentary as a vegetarian just starting out, I was horrified so much that tears were brought to them. The condition these animals live in is absolutely terrible, and I feel terrible that I spent 19 years of my life eating meat. The value of life is far too great for the cows, chickens, and pigs who are being shoved into tight quarters where all they know are the others surrounding them and the walls around them.

Many companies use the opportunity of a high demand and decide to get more bang for their buck. Pumping animals with antibiotics to make them have more meat is no way to go about this problem,  yet that’s exactly what they did. Now these animals are so large that they can’t even carry themselves. In the movie, it shows scenes of cows trying to walk on broken ankles and chickens trying to stand but failing because of how heavy they are. And not only do these affect the animals, but also the people who eat them. The antibiotics being pumped into these animals can cause bacteria to form to resist them. This bacteria can be dangerous if meat isn’t cooked properly.  So you’d think that knowing the use of antibiotics in food decreases the quality of life for both animals and some humans would prevent people from being allowed to raise animals this way, but that sadly is not the case.


I believe that all living things have the right to a good and happy life. This is why I initially became vegetarian. After watching Food Inc. I realized that the reasonings behind stopping meat consumption runs way deeper. This isn’t just about how food production works in the meat packing industry. It’s about the fact that people know and understand and SEE what’s going on right in front of their faces, yet refuse to anything about it. These our the leaders of our country, people who have most say in what’s going into our grocery stores. They know people have died from E.coli contamination and have gotten sick from salmonella, but here we still are.

Time For Action

The year of 2017 is already presenting itself with many challenges for us to face in the future. Fear for the livelihood for not just social justice issues but environmental as well. Last Saturday I participated in the women’s march. The pure fight and love that I felt from the crowd surrounding me not only made me realize how we can take action against the unfairness that is taking place, but also showed me that we are all connected by certain experiences. Using these connections to band together to fight these issues is important, but my first action in the fight is to make lifestyle changes personally.

I have talked a lot about making changes that make my eco footprint less and less. Just recently I have decided to rid meat from my diet. The meat packing industry and methane gases emitted by cows are some of the worst things for our environment. Methane gas in particular is a green house gas that, when released into the air, absorbs radiation and increases the temperature of the atmosphere. By personally choosing to stop consuming meat makes me hope that I can make changes to live a more sustainable life.

The next step for me in this coming week is to build a compost bin. With this project, I have high hopes that many of our neighbors will be on board and contribute to the compost. In this way, I am not only changing how my neighbors and housemates through away trash but also educating them on why doing these things are important in the first place. With the compost, I plan to start a garden. We bought soil and wood to raise the garden; now all we need is a community willing to contribute to feed our worms!!