I feel that some of the information is useful, and some of it is flawed. It's like they have an eco level 3 person (maybe eco level 2) attempting to persuade people that are eco level 0. I think he does have some success. And I do have to say that attempting this at all is big.
The episode about landscaping was really disappointing. All of the samples had lawns. And they were (I think) in L.A. - so a desertish area. At no point did they say "mow high". Nor was there anything about deeper topsoils. Nor was there anything about weeds. And they were confusing the concept of native plants with plants that will do well in their area without help.
They did something with the guy's brother. He was wasting so much power it was crazy. The guy was super interested in saving money, but it seems they left out a lot of stuff about how he could save money. It would have been cool if they told the guy some ROI stuff. But everything seemed really vague. It would have been great if they said "if you vacuum the dust out from under your fridge, you will save _____ dollars this year."
And then the visited a frat and put in low flow showerheads. They watched as the old showerhead was dripping so much it was probably three or four gallons per hour. And the new showerhead leaked too. Then he talked about a ten minute shower. How about running the math on the leak, estimating the savings, and then fixing the leak? How about mentioning that by living the way they do, their energy/carbon/money footprint is probably one quarter of most other folks.
A big positive for the show is that the guy was quick to say "it might be green, but it's a hassle and I'm not gonna do it." I think this has a lot of appeal for the eco level 0 folks. Less preachy.
Oh yeah: an LED street light costs twice as much as a traditional street light, so they aren't gonna do that. How about if they went through the numbers on how much electricity it would save. The ROI would probably be in the first year.
For a bit about food and cooking, the guy did mention Spud, which I think is cool. They really did a massive plug for spud. I think that with a little more time they would have done much, much better.
While I have dozens of issues I want to nitpick, overall I have to give a thumbs up because they are doing what most environmentalists refuse to do: persuade the eco level 0 folks. Most environmentalists want to preach to the choir and/or regulate/shame level 0 folks.
I think that watching some of this could also be good for permies: to get a view of how level zero folks really think.
Thank you for posting this, Paul. This is what I want to do, too: reach folks who are just beginning down the road to being more sustainable. It's good to see all kinds of efforts on this front, even the partially lame ones.