Day Two Hundred and Two: Buying “Green”

Last night I was flipping through a magazine that I’ll call green-lite. It’s a genre that I’m increasingly frustrated with. Article after article, page after page, suggested, either overtly or not, that all I needed for a more environmentally-conscious and stress-free life was to buy ALL NEW THINGS. Never was it suggested that, just maybe, since the environmental damage of my old items is already done, the best way to ameliorate that damage might be to use them until they actually need replacing.

I understand that purchasing things is an ethical morass. What to own/how many to own/what compromises are acceptable. I find it very difficult, though, to accept the idea of carte blanche to own unlimited things, as long as they’re “green.” Even more problematic is the fact that most of these items are more “green-washed” than actually eco-friendly.

I think the thing that frustrates me the most is that educated consumers have a battery of defense mechanisms to resist the tactics of, say, Vogue. In fact, I’m guessing that the average reader of this kind of “green” magazine is well-trained to spot photoshopped models and scoffs at the blatant consumerism of a Fendi bag. But, LOOK! Recycled shoes! Cute reusable shopping bags! A PVC-free yoga mat! What can possibly be wrong with buying that?!

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