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Discovery is launching a new cable network called "Planet Green" that will offer round-the-clock "green" programming. The standard assumption is that his network signals a further mainstreaming of environmentalism, and therefore will somehow be good for the environment. This assumption is incorrect. Rather, it signals that environmentalism—a brand of activism that actually means something—has been transformed into "green," a vague lifestyle term that means nothing. What revolutionary do-good messengers will Planet Green bring to the public? General Motors, Tommy Lee, and "earth-conscious celebrities":

General Motors, maker of the Hummer, is the "exclusive automobile sponsor" of the channel, Discovery announced last month. G.M.'s Chevrolet brand is a "premier sponsor" of "Greensburg," a documentary series about a tornado-damaged town that is rebuilding with an eye to the environment. As part of the deal, G.M. vehicles will be integrated into some programs, and Discovery will produce short-form videos about the company.


The channel's schedule is star-studded, with the celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse hosting a cooking show featuring organic and locally grown foods, and the "Entourage" star Adrian Grenier living a green life. "Hollywood Green," a weekly entertainment magazine, will showcase earth-conscious celebrities.

Because you're lazy!

Discovery's research, conducted last year, identified 40 percent to 50 percent of the United States population as "armchair environmentalists." Mr. Carr calls the channel's target audience "bright greens," people who are motivated by the idea that they can help the planet.