Worthwhile Canadian Initiative

Journalist Michael Kinsley was once asked to think of the most boring headline that could possibly be imagined, and came up with "Worthwhile Canadian Initiative".

I thought of this as I reviewed the new website of 0footprint (pronounced zero footprint), a noble venture and typographical train wreck being developed as a "not-for-profit organization that will link us to one common goal: reducing our impact on the environment." They are trying to create "a common ground for people to engage in sustainable commerce" but I couldn't find a handle or a compelling vision. I know, it's new, I should give it time. I also shouldn't let my bias against logos that need explanations affect my judgement.

It reminded me of another site that I have been trying to work up my enthusiasm to review and just have not managed to- the Otesha Project. Noble cause, earnest people working hard for the good of the planet.

I did get around to covering David Suzuki's Nature Challenge, but only after I was inspired by his spirited defence of wind farms-much more passionate than the challenge's 10 small steps for mankind.

The authors of The Green House note that they did not go after the greenest houses they could find, they sought those with "buzz, energy and style". They have a point. Some would say we are only motivated by our wallet- we will get rid of our SUV's and live in smaller spaces when we really feel it economically. Others would motivate us through guilt, conscience or charity- we have to do it for our children and the polar bears. I think we are also driven by self-image and by aspiration- we will not go green until we sincerely want to be green, until it is really cool to be green.

Our masthead calls Treehugger "a green lifestyle filter. It will help improve your course, yet still maintain your aesthetic." I used to think that was cute and glib but do no longer. I wish I were not so shallow, blasé and jaded, but I am tired of noble causes, of guilt and charity, of Worthwhile Canadian Initiatives. If we are going to create change we need Passion, Buzz, Energy and Style.

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