All This Green Just Makes Me Green

I’ve never really cared for the whole “green” marketing craze that’s literally inundated every facet of our consumer culture.  You can’t go shopping nowadays without finding something that’s trumpeting it’s green-ness in the biggest, flashiest letters possible from the front of its seemingly innocuous packaging.

It used to be that green was a bad thing.  Green connoted jealousy, avarice, and sickness.  If someone said you looked green, well, it wasn’t because you were wearing organic, fair-trade cotton clothes and vegan shoes.

Now, though, everything purports to be green GREEN GREEN!  I pick up my bottle of Windex, and it assures me that everything’s fine because it’s a certified GREEN product.  Cars, hotels, clothes, and food are all going green and, at least for me personally, it’s having the opposite of the intended effect.

Quite frankly, I’m sick of the term green.  It has over freaking saturated the marketplace and I’ve reached the point where if something says it’s green I’ll only buy it if there are no alternatives.

Because really, what does green even mean other than that the manufacturer and marketing team behind the product knows you probably have a vague awareness of the environment and they hope to capitalize on it?  Otherwise, what would be the point in my Windex being a green product?  I have serious doubts that my once-a-week mirror cleaning was having an adverse effect on the environment to the extent that something needed to be done to make the product more environmentally friendly.

Of course, there are times when the term green actually means something, sort of.  Like, for example, with buildings.  Except, there are different standards for the different green accrediting agencies, so once again green means very little.  If a hotel merely washes sheets only when asked as opposed to washing them every day, they can say they’re green even if they’re out back burning tires and using rare rainforest trees to make kebab skewers.

I guess what I’m asking for here is a moratorium on the term green.  Green is a color.  Yes, I get it, trees are green!  We like trees!  Therefore green is good!  But green as a marketing term has reached the obnoxious stage, and I think the marketing geniuses can do better.  Don Draper would do better.

Here, I have some suggestions:

  • This product has a conscience.
  • An environmentally responsible product.
  • Buying this product will make you feel better about yourself.
  • Trees appreciate this product.
  • We only deforested one acre of rainforest to make this, so that’s really not so bad, is it?

Who knows, maybe I’m over-reacting.  What do you think?  Take my poll and chime in on this issue!

[poll id=”18″]

9 thoughts on “All This Green Just Makes Me Green

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention All This Green Just Makes Me Green | Parsing Nonsense --

  2. Green is good. But that doesn’t mean I’m going out of my way to buy “green.” Seriously. I don’t have time for that. And any product with a conscience – I’d be afraid it would think badly of me for that.

    (In unrelated items…any idea why the last 3 posts haven’t shown up on my Google Reader?)

  3. -Blanche, Uh oh, my posts aren’t showing up in your reader? Hmmm, that could explain the comment drought from last week. Lemme fiddle around…

    You do make an excellent point, in that “green” products tend to require more green (as in money). I guess they’re truly green all around!

  4. Your last selection in the pole…Do you mean the product is actually a little better for the environment or it is solely green in color?

    I tend to buy green, but only when the products are actually better for the environment. And the funny thing is most of the actual green product don’t advertise as such (ie vinegar to mop floors, baking soda to clean sinks, etc.)

    I’ve only recently been more conscious of what I’m buying only becasue my son has to lick everything including windows, the floor, the toliet, etc.

    I don’t mind advertising. I’m sure I’ve bought something not “green” on occation just becasue it claimed to be, but oh well. I think the advantages are that people are doing more research into the products that they buy (well maybe anal people like me…others who actually have better things to do probably just grab whatevers on sale, which is totally fine by me…I just won’t be bringing my son over to lick their floors). :)

  5. -shaina, The last selection for the poll is for products that are actually green in color :) It’s not the green products themselves that annoy me, it’s the relentless repetition of the word green. I guess I’m just not onboard with that particular marketing tactic, and would prefer it if the phrase they used was a little more original and varied.

    -Blanche, YAY! I was wondering why there were so few comments last week, now I can blame it on RSS feed issues and not on shoddy writing!

  6. I’m making an option D. That is, all companies should do their best to make more environmentally-friendly products, maybe throw some assurance of that in the fine print on the back for label-lookers, and stop charging more for “green” things than they would for “earth destroying” ones.

  7. -Kira, Yeah, but if it genuinely costs more to make environmentally friendly stuff, I’d still like the option of destroying rainforests and baby seals when shopping, you know? Like, I’m cool with paying a little more for a car that uses less gas and has lower emissions. I’m not, however, cool with paying more for window cleaner, because the benefit isn’t nearly as evident and I don’t see the value.

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