Last week, Discovery Networks launched Planet Green, a new channel devoted to "eco-tainment." If this sounds like a crass commodification of environmental concern ... well ... it is.
Early returns have not been kind. Troy Patterson, television critic for Slate, offers a particularly harsh review, saying the network "embarrasses the Earth." Ouch.
Do we really need a 24/7 network peopled with Hollywood spokesmodels telling us to us to recycle, ride a bike and (for the 847th time) adopt compact fluorescent light bulbs? Don't we risk reducing common sense admonitions to white noise?
I'm of mixed opinion. On one hand, it seems like this brand of glib environmentalism is just asking for a backlash. On the other hand, there is a place for a channel focused on genuine environmental awareness. And Planet Green certainly wouldn't be the first channel to launch with a questionable focus. Here's hoping the channel eventually finds its footing and that we eventually get more "eco" and less "tainment."