The other day I met a prominent executive from a well-known mail order catalog business that caters to the environmentally-conscious consumer. His catalog differed substantially from the average high-gloss, full-color catalogs that are so common these days. His was printed on recycled paper, using soy-based inks. His company did unusual things for a profit-making organization. They regularly promoted Earth Day and enclosed informative statements about water and energy-saving techniques. His company was growing at a rapid pace, expanding greatly year-to-year. They were growing so rapidly that within a few short years their company had moved locations several times, each time to a bigger facility. It didn't take much discernment to realize business was good. Real good.
As he introduced himself to me, I was surprised at first by his appearance. Judging from the nature of his business, I had pictured someone from the company to have the appearance of some together, old hippie, casual and down-to-earth. To my surprise, he dressed like a normal American businessman. Striking up a conversation, I asked what I considered to be a question with an obvious answer, "I imagine most all of your customers come from the alternative realm." He replied matter-of-factly, "No. On the contrary, the great majority of our customers are Yuppies. You know, people who can afford to pay a higher price for things that make them feel that they are contributing to the betterment of their environment."
I was shocked. Somehow, I had the idea that environmentally conscious people lived in teepees or some such thing, living close to the earth in a harmonious relationship with nature. Little did I realize that this man's bread and butter came from those who tooled around in BMWs and drank vintage wines. But as I think about it, who else could afford such niceties as organic cotton bed sheets, oxygen-bleached coffee filters, and the like? Only those whose lifestyle is supported by high-profit, sweatless, high-tech industrialism -- the very thing that sucks the earth dry of its resources and injects its poison into the earth's delicate balance -- could afford these things.
So, why would they support various causes to preserve the earth? Isn't it for their own selfish purposes? After all, it takes a lot of money to live a life of luxury that appears harmless to the earth. Support for such ecological causes is only a salve for their bad consciences, merely a veneer over the empty husk of their self-righteousness.