Who'll save the Planet?

'But now that I’m living like a normal American — driving to the mall in a car rather than walking to the store down the block — my personal relationship with Walmart is deeper, richer, more meaningful than ever. I don’t have to limit myself to what I can carry in a shopping bag; I can fill the trunk and the back seat of the car with my loot. As I pushed my enormous shopping cart through the grocery aisles last night, I felt like an immigrant from the Soviet Union: so many choices, such convenience, such friendly staff, such low prices! Milk that costs $2.50 in the glamorous borough of Queens costs $1.16 chez the Mart. Soup, bread, cereal: all are 40% to 50% cheaper out here.

As I drove my load of goodies home, I started to feel a surge of Green Guilt: the Great Wastrel staggers home in his gas-guzzling automobile stuffed with Big Box Retail productions — the enemy of everything sustainable. Shouldn’t I be riding a bio-degradable bicycle to the farmer’s market to pick up locally produced heirloom beets and carry them home in my reusable organic burlap shopping sack?

Actually, no. Walmart and its Big Box friends are making the world a greener, more sustainable place. This isn’t because of any PR stunts or corporate green initiatives they may have going; it’s because they are relentlessly focused on profit and efficiency. It is their cutthroat capitalism not their sense of corporate citizenship that will save us — if anything can.'

- Walter Russell Mead, 'Save the Planet: Shop Walmart.'


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