It’s hard to think of a consumer-product industry that’s less green than the one that makes recreational vehicles. Its very existence is predicated on using large amounts of fossil fuel to lug around small numbers of people and lots of luxuries, and signs of environmental enlightenment are scarce: Living simply and living large are inherently incompatible.
So I was intrigued to find a reference to “going green” on the industry website RVeNews. What could this mean? Had the manufacturers that gave us the Weekend Warrior, the Land Yacht, and the Tsunami suddenly seen the light? Perhaps they were ready to downsize their models, incorporate solar panels and worm composters in their designs, and pay reparations to Pachamama for past misdeeds?
Well, not exactly. Here’s how RVeNews blog contributor Carl Sconnely sets it up:
I’m sure everyone has noticed how many companies over the last five years have been jumping on the “Going Green” advertisement bandwagon. They change out a few light bulbs, drop a couple recycling bins around the office, and eliminate most of their paper use.
Recently, however, appeal within the United States to “Go Green” has paled as concerns have shifted more toward economic stability. In a recent poll by Pew Research Center, only 41 percent of respondents considered protecting the environment to be a top-level issue, in comparison to 56 percent last year.
If “Going Green” isn’t making as big of a marketing statement as it once did, why should your dealership bother?
If you’re thinking that the answer is something like, “Because our great-grandchildren would want us to,” “Because there won’t be any scenery left for RV travelers to enjoy if we don’t,” or simply, “Because it’s the right thing to do,” you’ll be sorely disappointed. It turns out that Mr. Sconnely has a different sort of agenda. He’s the president of a firm that sells software to help RV dealers save money by reducing their paper use—a noble goal, no doubt, but hardly the sea change that this dinosaur of an industry needs.
How about you? Can you think of good reasons why the RV industry should go green, and what that might entail?