The on-line magazine, GreenBiz.com, carried an article recently by editor Joel Makower alleging that green marketing by companies is, in effect, dead, and included rebuttals from the heads of two firms that specialize in motivating consumers to make more beneficial choices. I won’t bother going into their main arguments here (you can read them yourself at www.greenbiz.com). The point I’d like to emphasize is that in order for consumers to make environmentally conscious and informed purchasing decisions, they first need to be enlightened in regard to the impact of their actions on their own health and the health of the planet. Once that happens, they’re in a much better position to judge which companies and products can boast of having genuinely environmentally friendly credentials and which are merely making empty claims.
Consumers who have read our “Chemical-Free Kids” books or are Greenopolis users (to give an example) will come to their local supermarket already armed with knowledge of the benefits of organic products, which companies are using harmful ingredients, like high fructose corn syrup and trans fats, as well as ingredients that are bioengineered and thus pose an additional threat to both the environment and human health. They don’t need to rely on manufacturers’ assurances that their products are “natural” or “healthy” — they can pretty well tell by reading the fine print on the label themselves.
People who have been educated – through blogs, news, social media and even by popular celebrities- to understand how everyday decisions they make can either help preserve or help destroy the ecosystem can usually be depended on to “do the right thing” .That may be not eating a variety of fish that’s in danger of extinction or disposing of a plastic bottle in a responsible manner that will keep it out of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” And if they still insist on smoking (a powerful addiction that education alone won’t always curtail), at least they won’t add their butts to those already poisoning fish in the ocean. They’ll do it for no other reason than it makes them feel good about themselves.
The saying goes; “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” – but only to companies that are trying to take advantage of our ignorance. When enough consumers become sufficiently knowledgeable – as in Europe with the public’s rejection of genetically modified ingredients – more and more companies will follow their lead and be counted on to act in an environmentally responsible manner as well.