Sunday's Chicago Tribune featured a story titled Green is the New Black lamenting the co-opting of green living.
'"Here's one popular vision for saving the planet: Roll out from under the sumptuous hemp-fiber sheets on your bed in the morning and pull on a pair of $245 organic cotton Levi's and an Armani biodegradable knit shirt.
Stroll from the bedroom in your eco-McMansion, with its photovoltaic solar panels, into the kitchen remodeled with reclaimed lumber. Enter the three-car garage lighted by energy-sipping fluorescent bulbs and slip behind the wheel of your $104,000 Lexus hybrid.
Drive to the airport, where you settle in for an 8,000-mile flight -- careful to buy carbon offsets beforehand -- and spend a week driving golf balls made from compacted fish food at an eco-resort in the Maldives."
We agree that consuming less is the answer, and merely consuming "green" stuff will not get us out of this mess. For example, according to the Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook televisions account for 4% of energy use in the United States (just let that sink in for a moment......FOUR PER CENT) and your old set uses a lot less energy than a plasma-screen energy hog.
On the other hand, if someone is already having to buy something, it can be a great time to switch consumers over to green products.
"After you buy the compact fluorescent bulbs," said Michael Brune, the executive director of the Rainforest Action Network, "you can move on to greater goals like banding together politically to shut down coal-fired power plants." John Passacantando, the executive director of Greenpeace USA, argued that green consumerism has been a way for Wal-Mart shoppers to get over the old stereotypes of environmentalists as "tree-hugging hippies" and contribute in their own way.
This is crucial, he said, given the widespread nature of the global warming challenge. "You need Wal-Mart and Joe Six-Pack and mayors and taxi drivers," he said. "You need participation on a wide front."
So go ahead and get your friends and relatives to shop for those CFLs...it can be just the start of changing an entire lifestyle.