I Farted…so I Planted a Tree!

Everybody’s planting trees at the moment and it’s become one of the biggest marketing boons to hit our TV’s. If you haven’t heard the term ‘carbon neutral’ yet…then it’s possibly the right time to come out from under your rock. This is our new reality.

The phrase refers to each individual’s carbon ‘footprint’ that they leave on the earth. Basically, everything you consume has an environmental cost attached to it. For example, if you enjoy bottled water as opposed to your own tap H20 then you have taken from the environment the cost of the bottle plus any air miles required to transport from the mountain spring based in the Pyrenees to you in downtown wherever.

So, in our endeavour to be ‘green’ and accept our responsibility as custodians of this earth we are trying to restore the balance and make our consumption ‘neutral’. That is, if we take then we must give back.

And it seems that the most appropriate way to give back – is to plant a tree. And why not? Each tree can hold more than a tenth of its mass in carbon so it makes complete sense to balance nature by planting more of these organic filtering systems.

Marketers have picked up on this paradigm shift as well. So much so that in exchange for your hard-earned dollar to purchase their service or product they will plant a tree … or two…hundred. If you’re looking for employment growth in the next decade I would certainly invest in ‘tree planting’.

However, with all this good vibe on being carbon neutral are we focusing on the trees but missing the forest? Like, how many trees should really be planted for my car to have replacement tyres? And, is my last meal at McDonald’s (that was back in my teen years) really worth a tree?

I can’t help but think that this is going to be the next environment fiasco where consumers will eventually throw up their hands in disbelief. Will advertisers try to outdo each other, offering more trees than their competitors, in a bid to secure your purchasing dollar?

And why do we feel justified that a tree is going to compensate for our ever-burgeoning lust for more? Don’t we realise that the problem isn’t about neutralising our effect on the environment but lessening it?

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