Is the Green Movement Putting Traditional Industry Out of Business?
It’s official. I just got my first formal shaming session for my greedy, self-serving venture in environmental commerce. I learned that “You People,” another term for “Treehuggers,” are perpetuating a money-driven lie that is padding our pockets at alarming rates at the expense of the public. We are becoming filthy rich off of a handful of fabricated lies and, apparently, the “green bubble” is just a few years from bursting; repeating history per the dotcom disaster. (Sidenote: is the dotcom era really dead? Hmmm…had me fooled.)
The person who so freely expressed her disgruntled position against the environmental virus that has infected so many of us was a retired entrepreneur, who had no doubt that green products create a “false market” and that the planet is not really in peril. Her particular concern was that “us people” were putting conventional industry out of business; namely, in my case, the entirety of the mining sector through our use of recycled metals.
While I’m quite flattered that she thinks Green Diva Jewelry is powerful enough to put away a multi-billion dollar mining industry, I don’t think she should hold her breath. What’s more, that couldn’t be further from our intention.
Although I can’t speak for other business owners, it would probably be accurate to say that most green operations are not in this to turn the economy upside down. In fact, I would argue that most of us are hoping to expand the market by pressuring conventional industry to discover more sustainable ways to accomplish the same goals; both for the planet and for the economy. These new, greener methodologies would result in a “renewable” job market and profitable business. Besides, if there is no Earth left, the economy will no longer be a concern.
As an example: You know all those corny “We buy your gold…best prices in the market” commercials? (C’mon, admit it, you’ve sat through at least one of those things wondering if you’ve got a small fortune collecting dust in your top drawer.) Well, can you imagine what would happen to all those recycled goods (namely gold and silver) if there were no companies to buy up all that metal? What would these buy-back refineries do with their inventory? They’d be a quickly dying breed, I imagine.
However, when companies like Green Diva buy up that recycled silver and gold, it allows the refinery to continue encouraging both businesses and consumers to keep already-mined metals in circulation through the recycling of unwanted everyday goods that might otherwise wind up in a landfill, such as used photographic film, old silverware and outdated jewelry. Voila! A true market is born…bringing jobs and goods to the economy.
Let’s be clear: this is not a false market. There is a genuine need for keeping precious metals in active circulation, since our earth’s supply of metals is essentially finite, in that it takes millions of years to create these natural resources. Once our mining industry has tapped out of this quickly depleting resource, guess what? No more jobs. No more industry.
This isn’t a game of smoke and mirrors. This is reality. Now maybe our supply of metals will not run out in my lifetime (although, many experts are giving us a short 50 years to see detrimental drops), it is still going to happen eventually and I simply care too much for the future of this planet to stand by and shrug it off as someone else’s problem. Should I, or any of us, apologize for that?
What do you think? Are green companies putting an end to jobs and industry? Or are we creating markets that will be sustained year over year?
About the Author
Katherine DalPra is principal and lead designer for Green Diva Jewelry, an eco-friendly jeweler using exclusively recycled metals and glass, sustainable elements, vintage materials and Fair Trade gems. She is an eco-enthusiast looking to share her growing environmental knowledge with other green-aspiring divas.