January 13, 2009

Wanna be Green? Don’t Buy Green. Buy Nothing.

What changes the world more—keeping your shopping cart empty, or shopping ethically with your hard-earned dollars?

Self-righteous, uneducated hippies love to tell me (because they know I publish something that has something to do with the environment, and yet is supported by…advertisements) “Y’know, if you really want to be green, don’t buy anything!”…then, they give me a smug smile, turn around, and go their merry green ways, shopping for groceries, driving their cars around, wearing clothes, forgetting to shower.

It drives me crazy. 

You know what I think? Be green. If you are green—that is, you care about the effect your actions have on the earth—you’ll naturally 1) buy only what you need and 2) you’ll buy mindfully-sourced, quality goods that last a long time.

That’s why, though I’m vegetarian (190 pounds, full of energy) I still drink milk half the time…because I figure (correctly? who knows) that buying organic, free range milk is helping change the market more than buying soy. And I care more about the lives of dairy cows, which have some intelligence (though not enough to rise up in rebellion against we cappuccino-drinking masses) than I do fields of edamame (soy).

Rant over, excerpt (that makes the opposite point) begins:


Taboo Talk in Green Business: Buy Less Stuff
Source: GreenBiz.com

Talking to consumers about buying less stuff just might be the third rail of green marketing. Reducing or limiting consumption is antithetical to marketing, or at least it has been so far. Practically no one seems to want to go there. I’ll accept my portion of responsibility. In the late 1980s, when I penned The Green Consumer, I helped…
…read the rest, here.


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