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Green With Ennui: 4 Ways Eco-Mania Wears Out Its Welcome

Organic or local? Fuel-efficient hybrid or used car? Will your plastic water bottle kill you? And, FYI, biofuel, which sounded so smart a few years back, could destroy Asian rain forests.

Sigh. Americans have been inundated with information since environmentalism went mainstream with An Inconvenient Truth and "green" became buzzword. It's possible that weariness is what's polluting our air and a backlash is a brewing.

The New York Times calls it green noise. Too much information on constant rotation. Some of it is contradictory. Most of it is vexing. And it's all overwhelming.

But this influx of pro-environmental info isn't just overwhelming people, it could be annoying them. What makes it so counter-productively obnoxious? To find out four ways,


  1. Marketing Ploys
    Green is chic! Civilized. Enlightened. Like public radio and brunch. Or so advertisers would like us to believe. In 2007, Americans were between 22 and 55 percent less likely to buy green products than they were in 2006. Market research found people rolling their eyes and saying "not another green message."And let's not forget those ploys that are just bizarre and the marketing against the marketing. I need a nap with an organic blankie.
  2. Conflicting Information
    It seems every new piece of information contradicts the last. One man interviewed in the Times article flipped a coin in frustration to settle on his new car: a used Ford Escape hybrid. And then his brother, who works in the solar-power industry, asked, “Where are you going to bury the battery?” Oy!

    And I'm not even touching the great Nalgene debate — those reusable plastic bottles, which as late as last summer were smart alternatives to bottled water, that are now a waste of petroleum and, possibly, cancer causing. Gulp.

  3. Scare Tactics
    The polar bears are drowning. We're the last generation to roam the earth. Those hurricanes are only going to get worse. Dr. Susanne Moser, the co-author of Creating a Climate For Change, told the Independent there's been too much emphasis on doomsday scenarios and the changes we're told to make yield few visible results. She compared it to a strict diet that only promised less weight gain in the future.
  4. Eco Hypocrisy
    The media is not letting the touted green life go unexamined. Did that celebrity just fly a private jet after speaking about global warming? Oh yes she did. Even Al Gore, the prince of greenness himself, has not escaped the media's hypocrisy meter.

Does any of this ring true to you? Is there a limit to the amount of green you can view before you see red?


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