Uneasy GreenDoug Jackson
It’s not easy being green It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over
‘Cause you’re not standing out
Like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky —Kermit the Frog 
The frog is right: it’s not that easy being green—although we are constantly being led to believe that it is. Millennia of human technological civilization have hardwired into our brains an unfailing confidence in our perception of the natural world, as well as in the ability of technology to easily intervene on our behalf in order to ensure our comfort and security—and, when necessary, to ameliorate or repair any damage we may cause in the process. In addition, while the past decades have seen an increasingly extensive campaign of information directed at the public detailing the seriousness of the environmental crisis, there has also been a parallel campaign by a burgeoning green industry of newly available technologies and products marketed to this public—products that prey upon individual consumers’ dual desires to both make a positive environmental impact and to do so with a minimum impact to their daily lives.  Accordingly, many such “green” products and technologies either overtly or implicitly extol their very ordinariness—implying that their everyday and familiar qualities will make them more broadly and easily acceptable. Meanwhile, the architectural discipline has adopted a similar strategy with respect to its own work—relying on the agency of technologies that achieve measurable environmental performance on our behalf, but which are otherwise so unremarkable that they fail to cultivate a necessary doubt or hesitation about our conception of the natural world and our habits and behaviors with respect to it.
These conditions have conspired to frame the environmental crisis as a large, but otherwise relatively ordinary, problem with a correspondingly easy technological solution. However, the apparent easiness of such efforts is contrary to the actual difficulty of the problem at hand. While these products and technologies are commendable in their aspiration to have a meaningful environmental impact, their cumulative effect is minor at best. The scope of humanity’s environmental degradation is so vast, and is fueled by such a deep-seated and long-standing anthropocentric misperception of the environment and humanity’s position within it, that such small moderating efforts do little more than distract from the enormity of the underlying perceptual problem.
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