Buying our way to greenness

An article by Alex Williams in the Sunday NYT talks about “light” and “deep” green, timely given the recent rocketing ascendance of pricey green gear:

“A legitimate beef that people have with green consumerism is, at end of the day, the things causing climate change are more caused by politics and the economy than individual behavior,” said Michel Gelobter, a former professor of environmental policy at Rutgers who is now president of Redefining Progress, a nonprofit policy group that promotes sustainable living.

“A lot of what we need to do doesn’t have to do with what you put in your shopping basket,” he said. “It has to do with mass transit, housing density. It has to do with the war and subsidies for the coal and fossil fuel industry.” […]

“We didn’t find that people felt that their consumption gave them a pass, so to speak,” [Michael] Shellenberger [of market research firm American Environics] said. “They knew what they were doing wasn’t going to deal with the problems, and these little consumer things won’t add up. But they do it as a practice of mindfulness. They didn’t see it as antithetical to political action. Folks who were engaged in these green practices were actually becoming more committed to more transformative political action on global warming.”

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