by Michael dEstries
Categories: Film/TV.

I was actually starting to wonder when all of the ‘zippity-do-da’ reviews of Discovery’s Planet Green would include one of scathing disgust. There was no way, I assured myself, that such a 24-hour network of green goodness could bypass some TV critic with an ax to grind over the whole environmental movement. Thankfully, Troy Patterson of Slate did not let me down. Here are some highlights

Troy’s feelings on environmental-stewardship:

“Concern for the environment is, among other things, an upper-middle-class privilege and a status marker.”

On Adrian Grenier’s Alter-Eco:

“It’s impossible to say whether the show’s smug superiority is more grating than its anorexic thinness of content, but seeing them in combination may fill you with a kind of retributive rage. I for one want to go out and kill a dolphin.”

On Ed Begley Jr.’s Living With Ed:

Living With Ed is clearly the most phony and least enlightening show yet devised about the home lives of celebrities, and I include Keeping Up With the Kardashians in that count.”

On how he starts his last paragraph:

“To be fair, Planet Green isn’t always this stupid. What could be? ” 

Wow, Troy, you’ve really sold it with the whole ‘fair and balanced’ angle — which is probably what you were thinking when you titled the piece, “The Dreadful Planet Green Network”. Your take on the environmental movement as something only accessible or solely existing as a “status marker” to upper-middle-class citizens further adds ill repute to any objective journalism you might bring to the table. Do you really believe that kids can do better to watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians than Living With Ed? I would really, really love to hear that argument. Have you seen the April episode with the following synopsis?

“After Kim purchases a Bentley, jealousy ensues as the girls fight over petty grievances. Kris gets drunk and gets a tattoo. Bruce begins showing symptoms of a mid-life crisis.”

Get real. Planet Green has some growing to do with its content, but it’s by no means the “unforgivable waste of energy” you insist it is. I’m happy to see programming that inspires people to think about their impact on the world, its resources, and the ways we can all live more sustainably. If you want to cozy up with the Kardashians and curse people driving hybrids and recycling, go ahead. Just don’t bitch and claim you’re going to “kill a dolphin” when the rest of us have moved on and are interested in something else. 

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • Jennae @ Green Your Decor

    Seriously, comments like this just make me smile. I bet he’s also the type to point fingers and laugh at a handicapped child tripping on a sidewalk or run over a puppy and not care. But I guess if there weren’t people like this who talk about something they know nothing about, I wouldn’t be able to have a big laugh at their expense either.

    Visit for eco-friendly home decor products, projects and tips!

  • Carmen

    Say what you want, but the truth is, only upper-middle-class people can really afford to care about the environment. I agree here.

  • michael

    Carmen, I disagree. ‘Caring’ about the environment and ‘buying’ for the environment are two very different things.

    Does it cost anything to compost? Recycle? Pick up litter? Support a candidate who will craft the best policy? Conserve water? Reduce energy consumption, etc.?

    Buying green is still expensive, but that too will change over time. Caring for the environment and respecting the world we live in is just as accessible today as it’s always been.

  • GreenTV

    SLATE loves GreenTV. Should we worry?

  • Nancy

    I agree with Michael. Carmen should pick up a copy of “Go Green, Live Rich” by David Bach. What may seem expensive initially will save you in the long run.

  • jamie lynn

    amen michael. my husband and i are by no means upper-middle-class, but we recycle EVERYTHING, clean up after ourselves (and often after others, lousy litterbugs), reuse water, dry clothes outside, etc. Sure, we don’t have the money to throw behind solar panels (just yet), but that doesn’t mean that everyone in our tax bracket should throw their hands up and say “too bad earth! i’m not rich enough to care where i throw my burger king cup!”

  • Scott

    Words right out of my mouth Michael. a little optimism goes a long way Carmen.

  • Remy Chevalier

    There honestly hasn’t been enough negative press about Planet Green in my opinion, and it’s got me worried… No new project can reach great heights without the fuel of controversy fanning the flames. We should be out there writing our own trash talk under pseudonyms… it’s too eerily quiet. Something has to give… Planet Green needs a really good scandal to get it going… The New York Post endorsed the channel with big green letters. That was spooky… Why would the NYPost endorse a channel advocating alternative energy lifestyles when the newspaper is endorsing the relicensing of the oldest, dirtiest, nastiest nuclear power plant in the country? What is the relationship between Go Green Expo and Planet Green if Entergy bicytaxi were allowed outside the Hilton? Shakespeare had a line for it: “Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark!”