We Can’t Watch Our Way To Planetary Health

According to The New York Times, Discovery will introduce Planet Green on Wednesday, a new cable brand promoted as the first 24-hour channel dedicated to eco-friendly living.
“This is an eco-tainment channel,” said Eileen O’Neill, the general manager of Planet Green. “It’s a lifestyle and entertainment channel that’s designed to activate people in the green space.”
It is also intended to engage advertisers, many of whom have green-themed marketing messages to share with viewers.
But some of Planet Green’s advertisers could raise eyebrows. For instance, General Motors, maker of the Hummer, is the “exclusive automobile sponsor” of the channel.
Gawker, for one, isn’t overly excited by the prospect.

The standard assumption is that his network signals a further mainstreaming of environmentalism, and therefore will somehow be good for the environment. This assumption is incorrect. Rather, it signals that environmentalism—a brand of activism that actually means something—has been transformed into “green,” a vague lifestyle term that means nothing.

I too share some of Gawker’s doubts. At the same time, eco-consciousness needs to become mainstream if there’s any hope of making progress on the myriad issues facing humankind. If a cable channel can assist in this effort, I’m for it.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.