Monday, September 3, 2012

Green bling

Bling are the status enhancing jewelry displayed by rappers, sports stars and other entertainers to demonstrate their wealth and prestige. Green bling are the solar panels, rainwater tanks and other sustainable technologies displayed by white Melburnians to demonstrate their wealth and prestige. White Melburnians have even established a quasi-ruling kingdom known as the Bling Dynasty which encompasses the fiefdoms of East Brunswick and North Fitzroy.

Flaunting green bling goes like this: you park the hybrid in the driveway, slap the solar panels on the front of the house (to catch both the afternoon sun and the neighbour's attention) and have the rainwater tanks along the side to make it look like you're trying to hide them. Then you fly to New York and correct all of your American friends who think the USA has the highest carbon emissions per capita. Yes!

Green bling is useful for combating the rising prices of electricity and water, mitigating the effects of climate change and enhancing your resilience to droughts, floods, bushfires and other disasters, such as being caught eating fast food, driving a four wheel drive or holidaying on the Gold Coast. It's also a great way to make it appear your carbon footprint is lower than everyone else. White Melburnians find green bling so attractive because its helps them to psychologically offset their high rates of consumption and gives them a new way to differentiate themselves now that everyone owns Apple products. The best part is that green technologies are becoming more efficient and have their own rates of in built obsolescence. You get to buy new ones on a regular basis!  

But the best way to lower your carbon footprint and all around environmental impact is to consume less - in general. However, acknowledging this means you have to question your own consumption and cope with hostility from your conservative uncle. This could mean listening to rants about The Greens. When he claims the Left want everyone to live in caves just tell him you bought green bling because you can't trust the government to keep water and electricity prices down. Or point out that you now have the anti-venom to the carbon tax python that's strangling the economy. This is simply an evocative metaphor and has nothing to do with pythons in real life. Conservatives can be skeptical of people who aren't always acting out of direct self-interest, so build his trust by telling him it's about being self-sufficient.

But there is also another reason why consumption is a tricky subject. If you want to win that argument with your uncle you have to draw attention to the un-sustainability of your own lifestyle. Then you have to point out how environmentally friendly his lifestyle is. You have to admit that all of your international travel, clothes shopping, exotic food consumption and regular replacement of electronic devices has a large environmental impact, which is humiliating enough. But then you have to embarrass him by pointing out that by using the same phone for five years, rarely going overseas and entertaining himself via local camping trips while drinking beer brewed in Abbotsford he's actually kind of a greenie. Especially if that chaff bag of his is used to carry groceries instead of Julia Gillard.

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