Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What Does Green Really Mean?

The state of the environment has been a hot-button topic for the past two years now, and as a journalist, I've been called upon to write several "green" lifestyle stories. I try to inject as much skepticism as possible, but when you're writing a piece about cute green housewares, it's a bit difficult to delve into the marketing ploy behind them without completely alienating your well-meaning, deep-pocketed audience.

So this is what I really think about the whole Green "thing." Overall, for those genuinely trying to make a difference, going green is a good thing. It means people are taking steps, little by little, to make less waste. And there's nothing wrong with that.

But in general, I don't believe buying an environmentally-friendly sweater is going to save the world. Particularly when it's made out of organic cotton, yet produced in India in one day by three 7-year-olds, then shipped to the US on a massive, gas-sucking cargo plane. Luckily for the makers of these products, it's pretty easy to up the price a bit and market a not-so-conscious item as something that will benefit the environment, whether it's true or not.

At an industrial design conference I attended last October, a journalist discussed the green concept -- and what we as individuals can do about it. He made a perfect point, in my opinion.

It's not us who will make the lasting difference, it's the companies producing stuff in mass
quanitities that can actually reverse the direction in which our world is going. If they can start sizing down the ecological footprint from the first step of production on, we could all breath a little easier. And stop feeling so guilty about shopping at H&M.

No comments: