Sunday, December 02, 2007

Shame on Santa!

This could be a post for "kiwiaventuras" but I decided to put it here just to add something more to the sustainability discussion. (I'll comment on the Electrolux Design forum later, Meanwhile, watch the podcast !) Last week we went to the infamous "Farmer's Santa Parade". I have no idea if the figure of 250,000 spectators is accurate, but it was in deed full of souls there. The parade was enjoyable...(pictures here) after the parade we decided to walk down Queen street which was closed to traffic (as I am always saying it should be converted to a pedestrian only zone). Anyway, all the way I was disgusted with all the rubbish left behind. Usually kiwis are very tidy, they pride themselves on being "tidy kiwis"... but all that rubbish was saying otherwise.

I know that organizers use this kind of events for promotion i.e. advertising. But they don't have to print 250,000 paper flyers to give away, which most of them will end up as junk right away! People usually don't read or care for flyers... they just throw them away. I usually don't accept any flyers or printed advertisements on street corners, inside a mall, during a parade or in any other situation. I feel awful that usually I won't be interested on buying anything based on that, and that this piece of paper will end up in the next rubbish bin I'll find. So, I don't accept them in the first place. OK. Not everyone acts like that, in fact, companies rely on people at least giving a quick gaze at the paper... they don't care much if it ends in the trash, because each flyer costs just a couple of cents. It's a good price to pay for a quick look at your logo or advertisement! But the price for the environment is terrible!

I get angry when I get junk mail from Noel Leeming on my snail mail box... despite having a big sign on it: "NO junk mail, free newspapers or circulars please" or when I watch on the telly those sarcastic ads with Erin Brockovich endorsing them as a good "friendly and envorinmentally OK company" despite being a terrible burden for the environment with products like Flat screen TV's and gadgets like iPhones which may cause impotence due to it's toxins... among many other environmental concerns : "The fact that the iPhone battery is glued and soldered into the handset hinders recycling efforts." (watch this shocking video about the iPhone unsustainability) I guess it proves you can not trust any advertisement, no matter who endorses it!

Anyway, I've been saying for years, that there should be a very hefty tax on printed advertisement: flyers, brochures, junk mail, and all other stuff handed out in an undiscretional manner. I have no idea how much of a percent, but it should be really hefty to discourage companies from printing items that are not going to be read by anyone, and are going to end up in the trash. Every friday, when I take my walk down the street, I see mountains of papers (supposedly separated from the rest of the trash for recycling ) and I wonder, how many of those papers were actually read and caused the impulse of actually buying the items they advertise... ? Junk mail is very ineffective, unreliable, and causes a great environmental damage.

Back to the parade: shame on Farmers, shame on the Auckland city council, and shame on the companies that generated all that junk... we saw boxes and boxes containing several packages of 1000 or more un-wrapped flyers on every corner... all those unused flyers were collected by sanitation just some minutes later... not to mention those which were handed out to the spectators, and also ended up in the trash after just seconds on the hands of junk victims. (More pictures on my new picture-albums.)

And don't let me get started on Christmas trees... !

Shame on you Santa!
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