Whenever Earth Day rolls around it becomes a challenge to distinguish the real deal from shameless capitalization of an easy brand. NBC-Universal, for instance, put out a press release announcing “Green is Universal,” as part of the company’s “ongoing environmental initiative.” NBC/Universal, or NBCU, plans to produce over 100 hours of green-themed content for this event, beginning April 19. Their motto for this whole extravaganza is “Green Lives Here.” So far so good? Then they drop the other shoe. The kick-off for the event will be the Miss USA competition wherein the winner gets to wear a crown made of eco-friendly precious gemstones.Okay, well, good intentions aside, an eco-friendly gemstone crown isn’t going to make up for the amount of energy and pollution it is going to take to make the the Miss USA pageant come to fruition. Is the idea of “green” all that is required to qualify as green? Could the contestants all dress up in green bathing suits and that would be considered “green” enough?The press release brazenly announces how the “Green Lives Here” motto will be used. “A new tagline that will be adapted across all NBCU platforms to fit each brand identity. For example, NBC News will use Green Matters Here, Access Hollywood will promote Green Stars Here and CNBC’s tagline will be Green Invests Here. Every property, from MSNBC to NBC Nightly News to Oxygen to USA Network to Telemundo to NBC.com, will turn its on-air graphic and marketing packages green for the entire week using the new brand platform.”Isn’t that nice for them? Green is officially a profitable concept that needs no justification. The word is enough. There is, thankfully, other programming scheduled throughout the week that doesn’t have to hide behind eco-friendly gemstones. MSNBC will be airing Journey to the End of the World, the first in a four-part series that will run through the end of the year. It follows the Tara Expedition, scientists on the trail of Arctic melting. For its part, the Today Show will air useful segments like “Recycling Made Simple” and “Going Green, Yet Saving Cash. Other networks will be celebrating Earth Day as well. Public television offers up some eye-openers, with realities about our world we may or may not be ready to face. KCET will feature Frontline’s Poisoned Waters (April 21) which takes a look at the Clean Water Act, specifically Puget Sound and Chesapeake Bay. PBS KIDS will celebrate our planet with PBS KIDS Share the Earth Day, a TV and online event on Tuesday, April 22 (check local listings). Curious George, Clifford, Arthur and an all new episode of Super Why will talk about different ways to be aware of environmental concerns and help keep the planet clean. PBS Parents (www.pbsparents.org) will offer an Earth Day expert Q&A with Jamie Durie, host of The Victory Garden, to help kids better understand the process of planting things in real dirt.There is a light at the end of the green tunnel, as long as we are aware that because you buy something in a certain color doesn’t necessarily mean it’s helping the environment. It’s going to take a lot more than eco-friendly gemstones to make and keep this planet green.
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