A porn site is looking to literally give America wood. Seriously. All euphemisms aside, something called Pornhub is offering to plant a tree for every 100 sex videos watched. No idea how long the videos are or if one has to actually finish a video to count — god forbid that website search end up in my work laptop history. Not sure a work environment is the right place to research the adult environment. But still, think about how this pornographic Johnny Appleseed effort might take a good whack at all that pesky clear cutting.
The initiative launched April 25 to coincide with Arbor Day and, as of Monday afternoon, the counter stood at 15,473. Those crazy Internet trollers — they really, really love the environment. The site also claims more than 1 billion monthly visitors so, using my public school math skills, seems like Pornhub is on its way to reforesting the world.
And that’s only fair, isn’t it? After all, without being too graphic, it is probably safe to say its clientele uses a lot of tissue.
Granted, the streaming video company didn’t actually say when or where the trees — or, to steal its pun, nice pieces of ash — will be planted but let’s not get bogged down in the boring nuts and bolts of porn philanthropy. To participate, one needn’t cut a check, spout philosophy, sport a ribbon, buy a Prius or know anything about alternative fuels. One only needs to turn down the eco-friendly LED lights, curl up with a blanket made out of recycled plastic and settle in for a date night of one in front of one’s computer.
And as Earth-friendly tactics go, trees for porn sounds a lot more enticing than signing a petition, buying a Prius or shelling out for carbon credits. Sorry, Al Gore, but the inconvenient truth is that making up for human existence by guiltily purchasing credits after the fact is boring. Let’s go out on a limb and just say Pornhub’s marketing strategy employing a different guilty pleasure is a lot more entertaining and might prove a bit more fruitful. Charity begins at home and this offer lets users choose in which room they wish to give.
Besides, imagine the explanations when one is in the middle of, shall we say, going green by alleviating a blue condition, and a loved one/roommate/neighbor/mailman walks in and demands to know what is going on.
“C’mon it’s for the Earth!” or “I’m practicing my personal sustainability!” Or, how about an invitation — “Hey, want to help me save the world?”
The notion of porn for the planet is obviously fertile ground for mocking and is undoubtedly more about self-promotion than global preservation. But why not? Environmentalism remains a hot button issue for some but not all. Maybe this marketing gimmick can help grab the attention of a few more global warming deniers.
In the long run, trees for porn is probably not worth the paper these words are printed on and might not make that big a difference after all. But at the very least it can plant the seed.
Michelle Durand’s column “Off the Beat” runs every Tuesday and Thursday. She can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (650) 344-5200 ext. 102. What do you think of this column? Send a letter to the editor: email@example.com.