Greenwashing

I think we all know what "money laundering is", but I'll give the definition just in case some of you don't: it's the illegal process of making large amounts of money generated by a criminal activity, such as drug trafficking or terrorist funding, appear to have come from a legitimate source.


Greenwashing_small.jpg
source: YouTube

Sometimes this practice of making "dirty money" appear legal or "clean" is called "whitewash money". The important word in this definition is "appear"; the money's still dirty, it's still gained illegally. Similarly there's now this popular business of "greenwashing" corporations, to make it appear like they help fight climate change by giving their customers "eco-friendly" options and through elaborate and intensive "eco-friendly" messaging. I'll use my own employer as an example; I work for a large Internet Service Provider that supplies their customers with all the equipment they need for their internet and TV connection. We supply the modem, cables, WiFi extenders and TV set-top boxes, the rent of which is included in the monthly fees. This means that if one of the devices breaks down, you just return it to us and we'll send you a replacement.


Corporate Greenwash: is THIS the TRUTH behind their lies?

As part of the new "green" policy, these returned devices are refurbished when possible and used again; this is great as it reduces some of the electronic waste. However, ultimately this is nothing more than a publicity stunt, you know, with eco-friendliness being so popular these days. It's just appearance because this green policy gets offset by all the other policies aimed at selling as much junk as possible. Take the WiFi extenders and WiFi repeaters for example. Older modems only support the 2.4ghz band, where new modems support both 2.4ghz and 5ghz. All WiFi extenders also have support for both frequency ranges. So when a customer with an older modem wants support for 2.4ghz and 5ghz, the eco-friendly thing to do is replace that modem for a newer model. But sales targets dictate we sell them a WiFi extender to connect to the old modem.

We also sell mobile phones with our monthly mobile plans, with Apple phones being the most popular. Now Apple's also greenwashing its image with their latest stunt being to not include earbuds or wall chargers with their newest iPhones. That in itself is a bogus measure, but what's really damaging is the fact that Apple continues its "buy a new phone every year" policy. They are the masters of "perceived obsolescence" and other forms of "planned obsolescence". And yes, at my workplace we have sales targets for those mobile phones as well. What this all comes down to, dear reader, is capitalism. The profit-motive is killing the planet, it's killing us. There are no solutions to be found inside the system that creates the problems.


Why Capitalism is Killing Us (And The Planet)

Here I'd like to mention something else as well, and that is the constant messaging around bitcoin and its negative influence on climate change. Mining bitcoin, so the argument goes, costs a lot of energy and is therefore the most unsustainable form of money. This is a load of crap, and I'll try to explain why. It's true that mining bitcoin costs a lot of energy, as it's mined through "proof of work", which means there's a whole lot of computer power involved; I now mine ethereum with a partner and our single mining rig has 6 powerful graphics cards operating at nearly 1000 watts and generating a whole lot of heat. But, we convert the ethereum coins (ETH) into bitcoin (BTC), and bitcoin is deflationary money. And therein lies bitcoin's "green power". Let me explain; normal, Fiat money is inflationary, which means there'll be more dollars tomorrow than there are today. And that means that one dollar is worth more today than it will be tomorrow. This incentivizes me to spend my dollar today, when it's still worth more, and it disincentivizes me from saving that dollar for tomorrow as the interest I get on a savings account can't match the devaluation caused by inflation.

Inflationary money is the perfect partner for a consumerist economy of eternal growth. Bitcoin is the opposite of that; I'm incentivized to save my bitcoin for tomorrow, as it'll be worth more tomorrow. I also know, since it's "programmed money" that there will never be more than 21 million bitcoins in total, and I know that the emission rate of new bitcoins will be cut in half every 4 years. And because mining bitcoin is so energy-intensive, it's also the perfect incentive to switch to cheap renewable energy on a large scale as soon as possible, because my earnings as a miner are negatively affected by the high price of fossil fuel based electricity. There's no greener money than bitcoin and transitioning to a bitcoin economy is about the greenest thing we can do right now. Watch the below linked video for a deeper explanation about bitcoin's green qualities, and the above linked video for an explanation why we also need to transition to a post-capitalist economy.


FACT CHECK: Bitcoin Mining is BAD For The Climate!?


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