The new channel Planet Green launched last night (channel 172 on Cablevision; not sure where it is for you other folks), and I caught a few minutes of it here and there. In partnership with Treehugger, the channel is an exciting development in green biz: the “first and only 24-hour eco-lifestyle television network.” But as optimistic as I was about PG, I found myself wondering where it would fall on the issue of veg*nism and the environment.
Of course, the channel’s programming includes the usual suspects—lifestyles of the rich and environmental (Hollywood Green With Maria Menounos), makeover shows (Renovation Nation, WA$TED!)—and will expand to include “reality” challenges (Battleground Earth: Ludacris Vs. Tommy Lee). But as always, the real answers lie within the cooking/dining and “information” shows. And what I saw there disappointed me.
I saw only the last few minutes of Supper Club With Tom Bergeron, so I missed whether there was any meat or dairy in the pasta dish he made. But I did hear him talk about going green on his wife’s urging—risking his reputation as a successful restaurateur and not flying sole in from Dover or chicken breast in from France in an attempt to lessen his carbon footprint. Poor Tom! At least European animals are safe from you now.
I skipped the next show, G Word, since the episode appeared to be all about transforming manure into fuel (“Cow Power”). But then I caught a bit of Stuff Happens, hosted by Bill Nye, the Science Guy, and had a moment of optimism. In the show, Bill takes a look at where everything in our lives comes from and “reveals the unintended consequences of all the stuff we take for granted.” Music to my ears! Especially when he started talking about eggs. And not just any eggs: battery cage eggs! And how the chickens are crammed in so tight that they can’t move, causing their bones to collapse from disuse! (He also mentioned that “some people” feel this is a form of abuse. Quick and vague, but at least it was said.)
He then moved on to free-range eggs and why they aren’t a good choice either! (I even learned something new: that the ammonia released from such operations ends up in the oceans, pulling out the oxygen and creating dead zones where fish cannot live.) Go, Bill, go! I was on the edge of my seat now. Could Bill Nye actually be suggesting that people stop eating eggs??? Alas, no. What I forgot was that this channel focuses on environmental impact, and the green movement has yet to fully embrace the vegan ethos. And so sadly, we arrived at option #3: organic eggs, which Bill heartily endorsed as the responsible choice. Foiled again.
But then again, we came so close! Should I give PG the benefit of the doubt and hope that as its viewers become more comfortable with making other changes, the vegan message won’t be far behind? I mean, if they want to be smart and honest, PG will have to include some vegan-oriented programming at some point, won’t they? Then again, they’ve got shows like Emeril Green in the offing, so maybe my hope is misguided.
Did you catch any of Planet Green last night? What did you think?