Column: The grass is not ‘Greenery’ on the other side

Megan Ivey, Staff Reporter

What do you think of when you think of the color green?

Nature? Peace? Money?

In December, the Pantone Color Institute, a color company that chooses a symbolic color each year, announced its 2017 Color of the Year.

Greenery, an appropriately-titled bright yellow-green, is meant to be representative of the relaxation and peace nature brings.

As I look outside to the dead grass and the gray sky, I am not buying it.

My cynicism extends beyond the colorless Midwestern winter.

Pantone related Greenery to the harsh political climate of 2016. Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman said the color “provides us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment.”

America is nine days away from inaugurating the president-elect Donald Trump, and I am anything but reassured.

I thought I would let it grow on me (the color, not the future president). I wanted to wait until the new year, to see if a new number on a calendar would make me optimistic.

Now, 12 days into  2017, I am still disappointed. A color is just a color, but the symbolism makes my eyes roll.

“Put the bad year behind you, forget about all of the conflict. Look at this color, feel calm, oh, and care about nature!” This, of course, is highly ironic, considering the president-elect’s stance on climate change.

Trump said “nobody really knows” if climate change exists, as reported in The Washington Post. He also wishes to appoint Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has worked to counteract Obama’s climate care policies, to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

I think the biggest disappointment is the transition from the 2016 colors to 2017. This is not the first time Pantone has given its color an underlying political message. I was thrilled about last year’s selection. Pantone chose two colors for 2016. A light blue, Serenity, and a light pink, Quartz.

They blended the two colors to represent a change in society’s perceptions of gender and sex. The stereotypical colors for two genders became one.

The strong social message and thought behind Serenity and Quartz was nonexistent for this year’s pick.

I cannot help but find more irony in the phrase, “the grass is always greener on the other side.” Metaphorically speaking, we have made it to the other side. The country thought we would be better once the election year was behind us.

You probably wanted the election year to end, regardless of political views. I know I found myself hoping the hostility would subside after Nov. 8, and even more so in 2017.

Only it is not. Political conflict is still filling fake news sites and Facebook feeds. Late night shows are still using Trump for their skits and monologues. No matter the political viewpoint, the country will continue looking to the president and the White House under strict scrutiny.

People think they would be happier under a different set of circumstances, but we have to work with what we have. And maybe that is what Pantone is trying to echo.

As with any color, Greenery is a swatch created to be used with other swatches to form a color palette.

Maybe we should copy Pantone’s idea and keep a hopeful outlook, but have other colors or mindsets for our year’s palette. Do not become politically idle in the new year. Be able to stay hopeful while remaining determined, aware and inquisitive.


Megan Ivey is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at 518-2812 or [email protected].