A lasting legacy for a green 'fad'

What will happen when advertizers skip promoting green and move on to whatever sells stuff next? I think this depends on how long particular green issues can stay in the public mind. Overall, I'm not too worried about a 'backlash' against the current greening of the economy world provided some current trends actually last long enough to become the new norm.


Most people never used to think about the 'green' properties (low energy use, sustainable sourcing, recyclable) of what they bought. Now many do. So the question becomes whether the support for 'green' is becoming sufficient to make such considerations a default part of product development, even when the actual marketing has moved on to other things. If so, then even if selecting a green product is no longer trendy, it doesn't have to become actively uncool, but merely normal. Green factors, even when not be top of the list for purchase choices or marketing, can still be influential if customers expect 'green' and so penalize companies/products that fall below their new (higher) standards. 

With green behaviors of products there is a long lifecycle to reach widespread adoption; crazy ideas become cool, then normal. For things like organic food or wind and solar power, few early adopters were often decades ahead of everyone else (and characterized not as cool folk, but as crazy hippies). Some  environmental ideas break out of this hippie ghetto and gain a wider but still minority acceptance, thereby becoming trendy or rather cutting edge. Eventually, a few products or ideas become popular enough that they can no longer be seen as trendy but instead are commonplace. There are a few green choices that reach the 'normal' level yet, but recycling has become widespread enough to be normal in many areas. Low energy use products stand a good chance of taking hold, I think, as there is a personal economic advantage along with the global benefits.       

Young people in particular express a strong desire to 'save the planet', so the prospects of more green choices increasingly becoming normal are good. A danger is the desire to cash in on this youthful goodwill. There is lots of greenwash out there (products overselling limited or dubious environmental benefits). There is thus a danger that they will taint the whole green movement as people tire of false green claims and disregard the behaviors (and even products) that can deliver real environmental benefits. With so much commerical mis-information and so many everyday choices to make the public can only make sensible informed decisions if there are reliable and measurable standards of 'greenness'. Vigilant denouncing of greenwash can also keep corporations honest. Current high public and commerical support for 'green' choices can yield lasting change if those choices provide real envirnomental benefits and become common enough to take hold. Indeed, no longer being a fad can be a good outcome.


LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

Steven Pinker's 13 rules for writing better

The Harvard psychologist loves reading authors' rules for writing. Here are his own.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 21: Steven Pinker speaks onstage during OZY Fest 2018 at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on July 21, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Ozy Media)
Personal Growth
  • Steven Pinker is many things: linguist, psychologist, optimist, Harvard professor, and author.
  • When it comes to writing, he's a student and a teacher.
  • Here's are his 13 rules for writing better, more simply, and more clearly.
Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less