Environmental awareness is definitely more present in the public domain than it was some years ago. Yet it seems to be as a result of a very unbalanced relationship.
At the consumer level (the majority of members of the public) is a growing understanding of the need for environmentally conscious living, and the importance of practices like recycling, buying locally-grown produce, using renewable energy, supporting smaller local companies rather than multinationals, reducing product packaging, composting etc.
At the provider level (most large companies/organisations or governments) is a growing level of deceit and obfuscation, taking advantage of the public’s changing wants and needs, for political or corporate gain, through carefully-worded promotional material, labelling and policy documents. Continue reading
A recent study suggests that people are more likely to buy ‘green’ or eco-friendly products to foster a personal image of superiority or prestige, rather than because they actually care about the environment. That’s not a ridiculous notion, considering what else humans will do for kudos (think Balloon Boy’s father).
The rise of equality and the increase in invincible and overly-capable technology has created an animal (Homo sapiens) desperate for individuality and recognition. Anything from food, (no longer just an essential accessory to survival!), to reality television is grasped by those in need with the steely grip of exhibitionism. And the latest necessary label is Green.
This produces an ironic concept. ‘The environment’ really does need attention. Unfortunately, a large proportion of the population aren’t genuinely understanding or concerned about it. Yet it seems many of these people ARE concerned about what others think of them. So, with a bit of emotional blackmail, this demographic is convinced that their prestige will increase if they take on a label they don’t fully understand or care about. And thus ‘the environment’ benefits.
What does this imply about a) environmental awareness and b) human behaviour??
© Manu Saunders 2010