I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the popularity of the green movement and why I get so annoyed by the plethora of green claims by companies and products. Setting aside the inaccuracy or misleading nature of some of the claims, they still annoy me. And, I think it is because it gives a false sense of security. Of guilt-free shopping. Its like confession – shopping green allows you to be forgiven for your sins. It promotes the idea that we can continue our consumption if we buy green. And shopping seems to be the American pasttime – I read recently that Americans spend an average of 6 hours a week shopping for things that the probably don’t need. And that’s a lot of unnecessary consumerism. (Check out Affluenza if you want a good read.)
And the celebrities that go green just irk me to no end when it seems false. I mean, here’s celebrity so-and-so saying how green he is after building a second or third huge home. But, that’s okay. He’s installed solar panels and used sustainable materials so his 2nd or 3rd McMansion is just fine.
But, I don’t think we can only shop our way to a healthier Earth. I don’t think that the green movement thinks you can. We need to consume less too – and that’s contrary to the current marketing efforts of most companies.
However, I’m torn. Because I think buying green is better than not buying green. Much better. If you are going to consume, then definitely consume green. And I really should NOT be throwing rocks – I don’t live in a glass house (it really wouldn’t be energy efficient). I like to shop too. And I am the first to admit that using a big green purse can make a huge difference – especially in pressuring companies to seek out more sustainable, less toxic options. Just think of the recent success of getting major retailers to get rid of BPA leaching polycarbonate plastic, while our regulatory agencies continue to debate the issue. Women spend $0.83 of every household dollar – we make the decisions on how to spend that money. And we can use the power of our purses to compel change. United, we are a POWERFUL force – and that combined monetary power is POWER. Just head over to The Big Green Purse to get some ideas.
So, here’s my conclusion – or at least where I’m at now. As long as buying green isn’t the last step in your journey, but the first of many, we can make it to a healthier world for our children and our children’s children.
To that end, I’m so excited to be a founding member of the Green Moms Carnival. We launch on August 4, 2008, when a number of us green mom bloggers are tackling climate change. Every month, on the first Monday of the month, we will be tackling an issue important to green moms, and, well, just green people. The first month, we decided on climate change, and what these women have to say is motivating and compelling. So, on August 4, head over to OrganicMania to read the carnival round up, and then check out what the founding members have to say on the issue. It is sure to be enlightening. From Mandi at eco ‘burban, to MamaBird at Surely You Nest, to Diane at Big Green Purse. Also we have Karen at Best of Mother Earth, Green Bean at Green Bean Dreams and Micaela at Mindful Momma. We also have Crunchy at Crunchy Chicken, The Green Mommy, The Not Quite Crunchy Parent and Anna at Green Talk. And, finally, La Marguerite and her post that inspired us, Mothers Needed to Protect Mother Earth.