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Going Green Equals Going Shopping?

Posted Aug 26 2008 11:36pm

It’s a little disturbing to find that that going green apparently equals going shopping these days. A recent CBS News story, The Green Baby, A Look At The Latest And Greatest Eco-Friendly Baby Gear, brought this to mind.

As many of us have come to realize, American consumerism is a wee bit out of control. If you follow the financial news, you may be aware that we just don’t save anymore (the national savings rate is negative for the first time since the Great depression ). We are heavily in debt (the average American has $112, 043 between credit card. Mortgage and other debt )and all seem to need granite countertops (OK- I just made that last one up.)

I’m not an economist but, I have a few thoughts on the U.S. economy. The engine of growth, per the official statistics is consumer driven. We buy more stuff, which creates jobs, which gives us more money…which makes the economy grow…etc.,etc. I’m not necessarily against that, it’s capitalism and we’re a mostly capitalistic society. I’m not necessarily for it either, actually. Fifty years ago, we were NOT quite as a capitalistic society…a little bit of socialism is actually good for a country, providing better schools, better health care and a better standard of living. ( BTW - we’ve always been a mixed capitalism/socialism society…the mix has just been tipping more capitalistic recently) And, surprise folks, these days we do NOT have the highest standard of living in the world. But, I digress….

Any marketing or sales professional will tell you there are two ways to increase the sales of your product – sell to new people or have current purchasers buy more of your product – both is preferable. So, manufacturers of “green” products, naturally want consumers to do the same thing. The American Baby spread , which inspired the article I read gives a list of great green baby products you can buy. Manufacturers of these products are pleased that the free samples they sent to American Baby were selected from the piles that the magazine received (you thought the American Baby editors ran around town finding these great items, didn’t you?) and were featured in the magazine.

I’m glad this well known publication is promoting green products. What disturbs me is that consumers will go into heavy debt to buy these products. It’s called “fear marketing” by the way – tap into consumer’s fear of harm coming to their baby to sell product.

So, though I do buy green products for my DS and my family, I try to remember that being truly green means remembering…less is more.

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