Fresh Kills

Green is not selling the way it used to. This is old news and it is the Onion. But it marks the start of a trend.

STATEN ISLAND, NY-An estimated 450,000 unsold copies of Time's special April 22 Earth Day issue were trucked Monday from the magazine's New Jersey distribution center to the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island.

The discarded copies of the issue-which features articles about conservation, biodiversity, and recycling, as well as guest editorials by President Clinton and Leonardo DiCaprio-are expected to decompose slowly over the next 175 years.

"Unfortunately, 'Earth Day 2000' wasn't as successful as we had hoped," Time managing editor Walter Isaacson said. "After selling out of such special issues as 'The Future Of Medicine,' 'Baseball At 100,' 'The Kennedys: An American Dynasty,' and 'Celebrating The American Automobile,' we thought we had another winner with this one. But of a press run of 485,000, only 35,000 sold. I guess we overestimated the demand for a full-color, 98-page Earth Day issue printed on glossy, high-pulp paper."

How about some more recent evidence from a more reputable source?

Green issues don't sell say a number of publishers.

As global warming was first becoming a cause célèbre a few years ago, many serious environmentalists worried that green was in danger of becoming a fad -- something that would inevitably recede from consciousness after overtaxing our limited pop-cultural attention span.

Sad to say, that prediction shows signs of coming true. Last week, The New York Times noted that the advertising industry is pulling back from green-themed marketing, having "grasped the public's growing skepticism over ads with environmental messages.

And advertisers' concerns are buttressed by the recent sales figures for magazines that have published a "Green Issue" this year. Time's Earth Day issue was the newsweekly's third-lowest-selling issue of 2008 so far, according to ABC Rapid Report. A typical issue of Time sells 93,000 or so copies on the newsstand; the April 28 installment, which substituted green for red in the magazine's trademarked cover design, sold only 72,000.

Enviro hysteria does not sell the way it once did.

The New York Times says ad agencies are starting to get it.

At an annual gathering of the advertising industry a year ago in Cannes, the environment was the topic du jour. "Be seen, be green," one agency urged on the invitation to its party at a hillside villa.

Al Gore, invited by another agency, delivered a message linked to "An Inconvenient Truth," his book and film about climate change: That the ad industry could play an influential role in encouraging businesses and consumers to change their ways and slow global warming.

The sun was still beating down on the Côte d'Azur last month as advertising executives from around the world returned for this year's festival. But Mr. Gore was nowhere to be found, and the party buzz was about the American presidential election, the Euro 2008 soccer tournament and even the business of advertising itself. Green marketing, while booming, had lost some of its cachet.

So let me give you an anecdote of my own. Instapundit linked to a piece I did on the decline of carbon hysteria, The Globe Reverberates With Laughter, and the comment section just went nuts. As one commenter noted: politicians ought to be careful. Elections get lost big time when public opinion changes and politicians don't. Take the question of drilling for more oil in the USA. I made a bumper sticker about it that is rather cute: Without Lubrication, which looks at the change in attitudes about drilling for oil in America and off its shores. A nominally green issue. About 60% of the American public thinks more oil is of greater importance than reducing the risk of oil spills to zero. The reason? Green is fine as long as the pocket book effects are small or well hidden. That is no longer the case.

Democrats may be in for a rougher time this year than they expect. I have some advice for them: "It's the price of gasoline, stupid."

H/T Counting Cats in Zanzibar

Cross Posted at Power and Control

Welcome Instapundit readers.

posted by Simon on 07.29.08 at 01:58 PM


Green posturing is a luxury good that we can no longer allow our politicians to make us pay for.

AntiCitizenOne   ·  July 29, 2008 10:12 PM

I pray for the Nurse Ratcheds of the environmental movement to get everything that is coming to them.

JorgXMcKie   ·  July 29, 2008 10:27 PM

The Republicans could actually drill themselves into winning Congressional Seats. They really don't deserve to win, since they screwed up so much when they had the power, but the Democrats have proven themselves to be worse, in so many ways.

Now, will Obama start wearing as thin as Nancy Pelosi?

Jim Temple   ·  July 29, 2008 10:37 PM

"STATEN ISLAND, NY-An estimated 450,000 unsold copies of Time's special April 22 Earth Day issue were trucked Monday from the magazine's New Jersey distribution center to the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island.

The discarded copies of the issue-which features articles about conservation, biodiversity, and recycling,.."

Uh, yeah. a special issue on recycling ends up in the land fill. Hmmm.

Says a lot about the green movement supporters, eh?

Phillep Harding   ·  July 29, 2008 10:40 PM

So, is it time to move on to greener postures?

Stephen   ·  July 29, 2008 10:40 PM

That would be groaner pastures, Stephen.

spiffy   ·  July 29, 2008 11:05 PM

Oy. Spiffy, I knew I wouldn't be able to get that pasteurize.

Stephen   ·  July 29, 2008 11:24 PM

Dear Simon: I don't think the high price of gasoline is quite the danger to the Democrats that you may think. First, as of now, prices are trending downward, and as the summer ends, they will likely continue to do so. They will end the year substantially higher than at the beginning, but the trend is more important than the price level. Next, Harry Reid will soon begin bawling that only corrupt GOPers like Ted Stevens want to drill in the pristine wilderness, a cry that will eagerly be picked up by the press. Finally, McC's position on drilling and developing new sources is much too reluctant to enthuse the free marketeers. I still think that McC's only chance is to turn this election into foreign policy referendum.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

Gregory Koster   ·  July 30, 2008 12:04 AM

As soon as I see "green" in an article or online, I move on. My corporation spams us continuously with green initiatives, green references on our intranet, etc. I ignore all of it.

The lecturing and scolding backfires bigtime.

Peg C.   ·  July 30, 2008 12:59 AM

Some "green" ad came on the radio the other day. I said to my wife, "I swear, if I hear the word 'green' not meaning a color again today, I'm going to fill a bucket of used motor oil with endangered birds and dump them into the river!"

BarryD   ·  July 30, 2008 7:43 AM

Despite the scientific trappings of the environmental movement (and granted, some have sincere scientific concerns), its emotional juice comes from aesthetic and quasi-religious ideas.

Assistant Village Idiot   ·  July 30, 2008 8:49 AM

Two great pieces Simon.

To me the parallels between the AGM madness and the Iraq war are uncanny. In both cases, after several years of lies, misinformation and confusion on the part of the MSM, Democrats and assorted leftist interest groups, the truth is slowly being revealed.

Btw, I have a piece up at Pajamas on the BBC's latest stab at GW propaganda, which you might enjoy:

Mike   ·  July 30, 2008 9:01 AM

It looks like the Democrats picked the wrong time to mimic John McCain. "Democrats would rather lose an election than give up the fight on drilling." there is a bumper sticker for you.

Blaine   ·  July 30, 2008 9:25 AM

Ummm - isn't the Onion a satire site?

fss   ·  July 30, 2008 9:44 AM

Re: Green!

We down here in South Texas just went through a Little Storm (Dolly) , I live 100 miles due north of Brownsville, Texas. Storm was FORECAST AT CAT. 1. MINOR STORM !
WRONG! CAME IN 50 MILES NORTH OF BROWNSVILLE - CAT 2- WHICH PUT HURRIANCE FORCE WINDS AND TORNANADES (Which one did hit my house at 3:30 A.M. -no lights, no weather channel, no internet, didn't know were storm (eye) was!) no damage! or loss of life! Thank God ! This is the Fourth(4) Hurriance that I have ridden through. (and last! getting to old for these rolling coaster rides these thing put you through! )(Beluah, Allen, Gilbert, Dolly and numerous Tropical Storms & Tropical Depressions!

Moral of Story! I bet Al Gore was weeping in his Lear Jet or Limo or SUV or numerous Manions wishing that CNN or MSNP, ABC,NBC,CBS, were flying overhead with LIVE REPORTS on TV'S showing Brownsville and Corpus Christi Texas under six feet water !

Didn"t Happen!

Global Warming (Climate Change , ect. = Just Weather ) is B/S! Period!!!!!!!

Have a nice Day!

Leonard Huff III   ·  July 30, 2008 10:42 AM


You probably missed:

This is old news and it is the Onion.

M. Simon   ·  July 30, 2008 12:47 PM

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