Friday, September 19, 2008

Buying green is not the greenest

I was reading some user-submitted eco-tips today, and one of them bascially said 'If you buy green, you can buy as much as you want with a clean conscience'. This is not true. And to be honest, it kind of rubs me the wrong way when I think about those who might read it and think it's correct.

Pretty much everything you can buy comes with a carbon footprint - some are just smaller than others. Significantly smaller, in some cases. I think the difference between new organic cotton and new regular cotton is quite similar, in terms of carbon emissions. Pesticides aren't used, but there is still the water used, transport, manufacturing, production, packaging.. all of these add up.

It rubs me the wrong way when I see product marketing making a similar point: 'here, have a clean conscience!' I know that businesses generally exist to make a profit, and that nobody is going to start a marketing campaign to encourage us to buy less. But there is a middle ground, one that I hope I'm acheiving. Ideally, every one of my customers takes more away from heidi and seek than a garment. Not that we need to be perfect. Instead, that if we are more aware, more connected with the entire process that led a product to us, we can make some kinder decisions, while still staying true to our interests.


Fashion Hayley said...

I love your blog. I try to avoid chain stores as much as possible too, I would say 95% of my clothes and shoes come from Savers.
You should have come up and said Hello at RAW but it was pretty crowded in there wasn't it? I'm going to link to your blog if that's cool :>

Kerry said...

Hayley, you're so right! Green consumption is STILL consumption... it's just the "better" choice of two evils. At the end of the day, a lot of the marketing behind environmentally friendly products is targeted to those who are naïve about consumption behaviours in the first place.

I'm not a particularly environmentally conscious person, but I am not in denial about it either. I try to do my bit whenever I can (or whenever I remember to), but it's most certainly not on the top of my priority list as it should be... but, I still am aware of the destructive nature of my consumer behaviour, not to mention all my other behaviours that are not very "green".

Awareness is the key. The more we are aware, the more we can make a conscious effort to change. But you can't change what you're not aware of... and if people are being told that it's okay to up their consumption if something is "green", then it's just going to cancel out any benefit to the environment in the first place!

my poppet said...

I agree, buy less but smarter. some of my favorite pieces are from the oppy. sometimes spending a little bit more on something of better quality means it will last for years not just weeks. i avaoid stocking cheap sweatshop made garments in my store because i don't want to be part of the 'disposable' cycle