It was a close competition, and the results have been delayed, but it is finally confirmed that 2013 was the Year of Eco-Thrifty.
Runners-up include: The Year of Pete & Andy; The Year of Obama’s embarrassments; The Year of Sonny Bill; and, The Year without defeat (All Blacks).
Eco-Thrifty narrowly beat out Pete & Andy due a strong cast that included Lorde, Macklemore, and Francis (aka, ‘da pope’).
Lorde (Auckland’s Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor) became the first New Zealander to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 with her single, “Royals.” According to various sources (including Wikipedia), she wrote the song in response to the opulence celebrated in much of hip-hop and rap music, including big, expensive cars, expensive alcohol, and the obligatory “bling.”
If the lyrics in “Royals” slipped your attention, then the lyrics and beat of Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop Song” surely didn’t. Although the song experienced heavy rotation on Whanganui radio for only a month or two before falling off the radar, its rotation was very heavy.
Macklemore, too, takes the piss out of consumer culture (and R. Kelly) by ridiculing those who would purchase a t-shirt for $50 (US), when one could outfit oneself from head to toe at an op shop for $20 and “look incredible.”
They be like, "Oh, that Gucci - that's hella tight."
I'm like, "Yo - that's fifty dollars for a T-shirt."
Limited edition, let's do some simple addition
Fifty dollars for a T-shirt - that's just some ignorant @#$%
This is, in my opinion, hands-down the best profanity-filled song of the millennium.
Coppin' it, washin' it, 'bout to go and get some compliments
Passin' up on those moccasins someone else's been walkin' in
Bummy and grungy, @#$% it, man
I am stuntin' and flossin' and
Savin' my money and I'm hella happy that's a bargain, @#$%
As would be suspected from a pope, Francis sends his eco-thrifty message with less profanity, but his words have been called profane by those who wish to maintain the status quo in the Catholic Church. Gone is the opulence of previous popes, and in steps a man of humility unafraid to challenge the devastating effects of wealth inequality around the world.
Conspicuous displays of wealth are in almost every case the antithesis of eco-thrifty. Instead of the win-win-win situations I write about that save money while being good for people and the planet, I would describe them as lose-lose-lose. Specifically, opulent lifestyles often waste money while having large environmental impacts. Additionally, research shows a strong correlation between wealth inequality and social problems (The Spirit Level, Wilkinson & Pickett, 2009).
While Francis’ courage undoubtedly upsets the wealthiest 1%, it has surely boosted the morale of the poorest 50% of global citizens be they Catholic or not. It appears he has taken seriously the teachings of an earlier proponent of eco-thrifty lifestyle, Jesus, instead of embracing the power and prestige of The Church. Good on you, Frank.
And finally, the Light Bulb Moment Award for 2013 goes to the Wanganui District Council for finally recognizing that running eight light bulbs outdoors on sunny days was neither eco nor thrifty. WDC is also the recipient of the Kicking-and-Screaming Award for the same action (turning off outdoor lighting during the day) because it took over three years and four columns in the Chronicle to get Council to take action.
But as a wise person once said, “Better late than never.” Let’s hope that 2014 finds WDC coming to the table on time.