When will Green stop being a "selling point"?

When will…or better yet…what will it take for Green to stop being a selling point and become the norm?

I am quite sure I am not alone in my annoyance of Green being used as a buzzword. Even Greenwashing is getting a buzzword flavor.

What does it take for a movement like “Green” to just be table stakes? A minimum entry for any product to market that nobody even considers as anything more than good design practice?

If history is an indicator, green will never become the norm. Rather it will be legislated and regulated and forgotten by the consumer. See the chemicals that are banned (CFC), the numerous air pollution controls on cars, disposal regulations on industry, air pollution control on industry, carbon taxes, fuel taxes, hazardous waste disposal fees and deposits to encourage recycling (batteries, tires, bottles and maybe in the future light bulbs and such).

914, I think you just defined what becoming the norm is. It becomes expected, is integrated, and then is a non issue until they find lead paint in children’s toys.


You are definitely not alone. Green as a buzzword is very annoying. Environmental stewardship has become branded, with it’s own catchy slogan.

Do you remember when the Extreme Games came out on ESPN in the mid-nineties? Suddenly everything carried the extreme prefix, even tacos. So, eventually ESPN dropped the extreme and renamed the event the X games.

A country where “Green” is the norm is Germany. Recycling is pflicht (the law), for example, and my host family was very conscienscous about efficiency. I remember the mother telling one of the kids to check the air in the tires on his car because “Das kostet Benzin!” Also, some Germans short-shift their cars to save gas. Others drive as fast as they can, though. But the overall habit of the Germans is interesting because there is no pressure to be “Green.” Their society has already made the adjustment when it comes to reducing, reusing, and recycling in daily life.

Currently at my university, an economic professor speculated how investment in the “Green” industry might be the next bubble to burst (like the dot.com fad). One of my friends is writing an undergrad thesis on how a shift in the habits of consumers, rather than the sole development of new technologies, is necessary to make “Green” the norm.

anyone seen the dwr catalog? a whole new level of green buzzwordness

Its really starting to get disgusting. The message most advertisers are going to is “Buy our products to save the Earth and save you money!” Nevermind that the refrigerator I just bought 3 years ago still works fine, but isn’t high efficiency. I should buy a new one though so I can save the planet! I’ll just throw my old fridge away out in the street and it will magically disappear, right?

I would be curious to read this thesis for no other reason than I thoroughly disagree with the premise that people changing their lifestyle is going to be the source of change.

The numbers of people on the planet that are “have-nots” and are entering the middle class and/or striving to get to a point where they are truly part of the consumerist culture is staggering. We have cars that are coming out for a few thousand dollars (USD). The fact that they are more efficient than a Hummer doesn’t mean squat if there are suddenly two million more autos on the road next year because those two million people can now afford a car.

Technology is what got us into this situation. It is my belief that the only thing to get us out will be technology and the rest of the Creators making it so that we don’t have a choice to be “Green”. When every product is inherently “green” is when the problem will start to disappear.


I understand you completely. Technologies create problems requiring new technologies to solve the problems caused by the old technologies (whew). But I think a lifestyle change is important too. And not only a consumer habit change, but changes in urban planning and civil engineering.

For example, I recently read an article in Automotive Engineering International (SAE Int’l’s monthly pub) that although there have been many gains in engine efficiency, those gains can be nullified by traffic congestion. I think that’s what you mean by adding cars on the roads. Although they may be efficient and have lower than average C02 emissions, the net effect is an increase in CO2 emissions.

I agree that technology is key. Lowering CO2 emissions from automobiles will be best achieved not only through automotive design, but also urban planning/CE, and motorist habits.

Absolutely. I am definitely not advocating that we abandon change on the individual level. The sum of the parts are greater than the whole. The real problem lies in the technology and the systems that are in place available to the masses.