Buying Green?

I just came across an advertisement on one of those eco-blogs I mentioned the other day, claiming “…earth-friendly products to help people consume less…” It’s got me thinking, is this statement true, or even possible?

Can we consume something (i.e. buy a product) that offsets or reduces consumption*? I’m not sure. When I wrote about some of the changes I’ve been making, I realize now that they are almost entirely wither things I do buy, or changes to things usually bought. My new steam cleaner means that I don’t use the myriad of chemical cleaning products found in most homes, and also relies upon reusable ‘helpers,’ like tea-towels, as opposed to disposable sheets or whatnot. And yet, it is made predominantly of plastic, and will break someday — and what of it then? I try to bring into my home products that are non-toxic, non-harmful, less wasteful, and by doing so to support business that seem to be promoting positive and sustainable chance. But are my changes really for the better, or am I fooling myself?

Is the “green consumer” a myth? Or a step in the right direction? I’m not sure. I don’t think that we can completely escape consumerism,and although there are many choices that can be made towards consuming less (like say, just not buying things at all, or making X by hand), can we really achieve sustainable change through products?

Discuss!

*Not the Victorian wasting-sickness kind. Yes, my mind goes there with words like “consumption”.

2 Comments

Filed under rambling

2 responses to “Buying Green?

  1. You can probably figure out which side of the fence I’m sitting on. (The one with the escaped sheep on it; I’m trying to lure her back in for the sixth time today.) But seriously.

    I usually react with hostility to “green” products, not because there’s anything wrong with making the choice to buy safer/cleaner/kinder to bunnies products in favor of hugely overproduced/overpackaged/chemical soaked/tested on squirrels products, but because what needs to change (assuming anything does) in our society is not exclusively or even primarily the products we use, but our love of consumption for its own sake, and the idea that many of these products are necessary at all, ‘green’ or otherwise. Like you’ve basically just said, do we need to manufacture and purchase a line of ‘greener’ cleaning products, or could we just please break out the lemon juice and elbow grease?

    It’s obvious that an item like a portable coffee mug or your steam cleaner, by reducing the need for future purchases of waste packaging and chemicals is a step in the right direction. Since by their design they help people consume less, these products are automatically more “earth friendly” in that category than others. But I think it is important to remember that reduced consumption leads to earth friendly, and it does not necessarily work the other way around. In my little fantasy, more people would stop and think “do I need this, or do I already have something I can use” before they bought anything – and then if they do decide to purchase, by all means, pick the most responsible choice. So much “earth friendly” marketing is just that – marketing. Look what Lolly posted about the ‘in’ colours for this year!

  2. LOL – As far as your thought on comsumption, I had the same one, so don’t feel bad!

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