Talk of global warming and ecological disaster fills the news almost daily, inducing a sense of alarm and guilt in readers. We all live in ‘the environment’ – shouldn’t everyone want to protect it? While it is easy to agree on the goal, the difficulty lies in deciding the best approach.
Discussions can sometimes take on the tone of moral imperative, and often-unexpressed moral judgement makes us uncomfortable when we hear the term ‘greenwashing’. The implication is that large, faceless corporations are abusing our credulity by trumpeting actions to ‘protect the environment’ while pursuing profit rather than progress. Judging correctly, however, involves more investigation than innuendo. Champagne often comes under fire, in part since the proprietor of the company with the largest market share regularly tops the list of the world’s wealthiest men.