Ethical Shopping Shows How Rich You Are

"Green consumerism is becoming a pox on the planet." That's the controversial opinion from George Monbiot in the Guardian today. His argument is that ethical consumerism is actually encouraging us to purchase more, rather than consume less. While it should be the aim of those who care about the environment to reduce their impact, what they are actually doing is buying a raft of green products in the misguided hope that this will achieve something positive or, even worse, because it is fashionable. If you have a bag, buying an organic cotton bag won't make you greener; it will make you less green.

He has a point. Replacing harmful products with green products is a noble aim, but it shouldn't be done unless that product is needed. Green is in fashion, which is a large motivator for buying green goods. And fashion is obviously not rational enough to allow our goods to wear out before encouraging us to replace them. "The middle classes rebrand their lives, congratulate themselves on going green, and carry on buying and flying as much as before."
"The media's obsession with beauty, wealth and fame blights every issue it touches, but none more so than green politics. There is an inherent conflict between the aspirational lifestyle journalism that makes readers feel better about themselves and sells country kitchens, and the central demand of environmentalism - that we should consume less," says Monbiot.

You know all of those lovely things we write about on TreeHugger? The sustainable clothes, furniture and other desirable trinkets? Well, if you really want to be green, don't buy them unless you need them. ::The Guardian

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