When Did “Greenbashing” Become Sexy?


Back when I was writing my book it was cool to be green. People were waking up to the fact that conventional food is full of junk, plastic is not always your friend, and the planet was quickly becoming overrun by soda cans and wildfires. Recycling bins became the status quo and people generally started to give a damn.

Sure, there were the folks who revved up the engines on their 4x4s just to spite the “treehuggers.” Such dissection is expected, but overall we were letting it be known that this whole “green thing” was not a fad. It was a wake up call and a new way of life.

But where it was once becoming common acceptance that Monsanto is evil and Cheese Whiz is bad, writers are popping up to poke holes in the movement. And I’m not talking about Fox News, or even the mom bloggers hashtagging for the love of GMOs. I’m talking about Gawker, the mecca of celebrity gossip where today’s headline reads, “Marilyn Manson Allegedly Sucker-Punched at Canadian Denny’s.”

Lest you think the pro-chemical folks can’t be pithy, here’s a selection from this week’s “The Food Babe Blogger is Full of Shit:”

“…fussy assholes from the Food Babe Army who think that gluten causes your spleen to turn radioactive, or whatever lie she’s using to sell organic kale dipped in yak’s butter this week.”

I have been vocally honest about my issues with Food Babe (aka Vani Hari). I’m not a huge fan of her tactics or everything she writes. But overall I believe she is working for the betterment of the spectacularly screwed-up American food system. And as for profiting, find me one blogger or advocate who doesn’t need to use affiliate links to make a few dollars, supporting brands they believe in.

Unsurprisingly, the article’s author, who also runs the “Science Babe” Facebook page and business, comes from Amvac Chemical, “which found a profitable — and controversial — niche by buying manufacturing rights to older pesticides, many of them at risk of being banned or restricted because of safety concerns.”  Amvac also has a collaboration agreement with Monsanto to co-market Roundup ready platforms. The same Roundup that has glyphosate, which has been listed by the IARC and WHO as a probable carcinogen and the same Roundup that is directly associated with GMO crops.

Got all that?

Oddly enough, on the same day, Jezebel, Gawker‘s snarky sister site, published an article called, “What’s Up with Phthalates?”  This question was answered by a blogger with no discernible scientific background, but plenty of wit.

“Phthalate haters (“phthaters” as I call them) argue that they can cause developmental disabilities and delays in children, ADHD, metabolism problems, maybe even cancer, and one study suggested “less masculine play in boys.” Which, sounds fine to me. In fact, the internet and conversations with friends yielded no shortage of bad things people wanted to blame on phthalates. One friend, told me she suspects phthalates could be linked to autism, which isn’t just something she pulled off an internet forum. This link is mentioned here, in Scientific American. It seems like phthalates have been blamed for everything except stealing the Lindberg baby and being the Zodiac killer. Of course, just because phthalates have been linked to something, doesn’t mean they caused that thing. Phthalates were totally just holding onto their friend’s pot, they promise.”

She goes on to suggest that if we want to avoid phthalates we should go live in a yurt in Montana.

Aww, that’s really clever. But we could also go to Europe where they have been banned in children’s toys since 1999. Nine other countries, including Japan, Mexico and Argentina, have also outlawed the chemicals. China, which makes 85 percent of the world’s toys, has developed two manufacturing lines, one for the European market and the other like-minded nations that ban phthalates, and another one for the United States and dozens mostly developing and third world countries that don’t restrict them. Isn’t that clever as well?

Let me be clear that I am a believer in science. I believe that chemicals should be scientifically tested before they are put in my food or lipstick. And until you can be pretty damn sure they aren’t directly linked to cancer and diabetes, I’m gonna go ahead and avoid them when I can.

And that’s the thing – we can. So why the hell shouldn’t we? Because it makes us “phthaters?” Because Vani Hari doesn’t choose to get a flu shot? Because some bloggers make a commission off the sale of organic Goji berries?

But let’s be honest – both sides are getting a little crazy.

I saw a fair share of good old fashioned sexism coming from both sides – men on my Facebook feed referring to the Gawker article as “a catfight.” Well intentioned women saying we should all support each other instead of trying to “tear each other down,” as if having a vagina means we all should agree on everything. More people inexplicably linking GMO labeling with vaccine refusal and making me want to go live in my own personal yurt just to avoid all the bullshit and nonsense!

Because that’s the thing – the movement for real, transparent, honest food isn’t any more tied to anti-vaccination or Food Babe than it is to believing in alien crop circles. And it is my right and responsibility to question everything – whether from the mouth of Vani Hari or from the mouth of the Dalai Lama. I may support President Obama, but I sure as hell don’t agree with everything he’s ever said or done. Nor should I. Because that would make me an unthinking drone. This isn’t “Going Clear” – it’s going clean. And I’m getting tired of picking up the pieces of this hot, garbled mess.

So I repeat my same mantra and mission, hoping sanity and intention will prevail. This is the movement of our generation – to take back our food, our air, our water. And if we can all agree to a few basic principles – without mucking it all up with religion, gender, money, and ego – then maybe we have a fighting chance.

Our vision is for transparency and honesty from the food, cosmetics, and other manufacturing industries.

We undeniably agree that products produced for Americans should be held to the same standards as those manufactured for use abroad.

We want more accessible, affordable access to food that has not been genetically-modified or treated with dangerous pesticides.

We want fair farming practices that support the farmers, the environment, and humanely raised animals.

We want to be heard. And when too many other controversial issues get lumped in there, we just become white noise.

Promote any lifestyle you like and shout your beliefs from the mountaintops.

But we have to find a way to make the public hear us speak to these key issues with one clear, unwavering voice.

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy my monthly newsletter. Receive green living news, discounts, giveaways, and events delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.

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