Letter to the Editor: Promoting certain projects as ‘smart growth’ is greenwashing
August 6, 2012
Regarding Theresa May Duggan’s “My Turn” on August 3, 2012, there is a serious misunderstanding. Greenwashing is a “form of spin in which green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organizations aims and policies are environmentally friendly.” As explained at the community meeting, it’s a deceptive practice to persuade environmentally conscious individuals for an ulterior motive, usually profit, but also political support.
We were not saying or implying that smart growth is greenwashing, rather that others are using smart growth to greenwash a development model that is not authentic smart growth. This is a critical distinction. Smart growth principles are progressive and green when they are implemented in the right way, the right place, and according to the principles. There was no “bashing” of authentic smart growth, which is designed as a better alternative growth pattern than unrestrained “sprawl.” Authentic smart growth has merit.
The point at the meeting was that the TRPA and some business organizations are promoting the ski-industry and casino resort development model, which is designed for tourists, visitors and seasonal residents, as “smart growth.”
Hi-density hotel or “air condos” in multi-story green buildings with boutique shops and high-end national chains at ground level is not authentic smart growth. These are resorts owned by a corporation in the vacation/entertainment business. They are not organic communities of year round residents with children attending the local schools. Having a few exterior characteristics similar to authentic smart growth does not make it so. Promoting these type of projects as “smart growth” to receive public funding and facilitate corporate profits is greenwashing.
Reno; Tahoe Vista business owner