This week’s episode of Dirty Jobs was a special titled “Brown Before Green.” It featured clips from earlier jobs related to the environment. I had seen most of it before but what was interesting to me was Mike Rowe’s narration in between clips. It’s tempting to call it an indictment of the whole “green” movement but actually the point was that there are a lot of people who are working to help the environment in ways that are not part of the “green” litany of feel-good practices and products. He calls this other environmental movement “brown” because to really clean up you first have to get dirty.
Here are some quotes from the show.
When people are motivated instead of lectured they’re more likely to do right by the environment.
That would seem to be obvious but apparently not to some people. I suppose the lecturers actually believe that lecturing is the way to motivate people. Or perhaps the only people they want to motivate are members of Congress.
Green sees a mess like this and says ‘we’ve gotta clean this up because it’s a just cause’. Brown sees the same mess and says ‘we gotta clean this up because it’s an opportunity.’
Oh the evils of capitalism – actually making money off environmental clean-up.
And one more. This was his introduction to a segment in which he helped to demolish a small concrete damn blocking a trout stream.
You know what else bugs me about green? It’s the idea that everyone can contribute equally to saving the planet. It’s just not true. Sure we can all drive hybrids and remember to turn the lights off when we leave the office but how come nobody ever talks about the 12 hour days of back-breaking manual labor? Where in the green manifesto does it talk about pain, sweat, blisters? Look, brown understands that there’s no substitute for brute force and when it comes to getting the environment back to where it belongs it’s not about picking up one of those curly little light bulbs; it’s about picking up a sledgehammer.
So let’s have a little more respect for brown.