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Yosemite Concessionaire Greenwashes for Earth Day

Yosemite behemoth concessionaire Delaware North opened a 1,000-square-foot store to celebrate Earth Day, kind of a contradictory move for a day that was supposed to promote conservation and green space. Development in a national park? Well, that's what concessionaires do and how they make money.

The store, called "Habitat Yosemite" will feature ambiguously described eco-friendly products and the store itself has been designed with recycled items from the park itself. Delaware North also threw a bone to the guilt-ridden traveler by also opening two rooms (Two, my goodness!) at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls intended as prototypes of "environmentally-friendly" design.

My eyes lit on the phrases "designed with an eye toward an eventual roll-out throughout the Lodge's 245 rooms" and "An additional goal is the eventual certification of Yosemite Lodge at the Falls as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) . . . property." (Italics are mine.) Meaning we might extend the green-ish design to other rooms, or we might not. Maybe one day we will try to be certified LEED, or maybe we'll scrap it altogether. Read the glurge from the general manager:

"A great deal of research and technology is integrated in these rooms, most of it working quietly just beneath the surface," said Keith Erikson, General Manager of Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. "Our guests won't notice many of these elements, but when they cross the threshold and drop their bags, their rooms will be welcoming, comfortable, affordable and, we hope, inspiring."
For $231.90 a night, I hope I'm more than inspired by my rustic environs. That said, it's just another typical greenwashing treatment that companies roll out around Earth Day (and any other time of year) to say that some project they have can be called "green" or "eco-friendly," both ambiguous terms, because they reused a few beams or put in recycled carpet. From the EnviroMedia Greenwashing Index:
It's greenwashing when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be "green" through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact.
I think the average citizen is becoming more sophisticated about green building techniques and results, but greenwashing still has a special place in the business world. At least it gives marketing departments something imaginative to do on April 22.

Photo: Yosemite Lodge at the Falls (its shuttle service)

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