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Encouraging North Americans to Pollute Less, Consume Fewer Resources, and Use Less Energy since 2007.

(Better Late Than Never).



Not only is it difficult to educate and convince people to do the right (rather than the easy) thing, it is made significantly more difficult by the fact that being perceived as "green" is currently tremendously important for businesses of all sorts. While there are many truly concerned businesses working on products to create less damage, there are increasingly more companies who ride the green wave to sell more of what they always sold. Their marketing and advertising departments are hard at work to make any product appear as if it will save the planet. This intentional deception is called "green-washing" and you have to be rather careful to avoid falling for it. Can't say it has not happened to me.

Generally speaking, most companies will not tell you the whole truth about their product. They will attempt to high-light what is positive, hide what is negative, emphasize what is perceived well, sweep under the carpet what they do not want you to know. This is nothing really new. Marketing has been done this way since it was invented. What is new is that the environment and caring about it currently enjoys so much attention. In addition, environmental facts are not just black and white and their interpretation leaves much room for bias. If you want to believe a product is green, it is fairly easy to convince yourself that it is. All you have to do is look at some chosen facts, rather than all the facts. There are many facts to choose from; the issue is complicated.

To decrease being green-washed do this:

• Look at the "green" facts in question and decide why you are being told about them.

• Research if there are critics of the advertised facts/product in question and what they have to say.

• Decide who you think is more reliable and unbiased.

• Learn as much as you can about a product, from its fabrication to its re-integration into the cycle of production.

• Learn as much as you can about a service, from its planned benefits to its undesired side-effects to the environment, people, infrastructure, etc.

• Decide whether not using the product in question is not better than using it.

• Decide whether decreasing the use of a different product/service will not have the same benefit than the product/service in question.

• Decide whether the product/service cannot be replaced with already existing items and whether they are that much worse.

• Decide if the product/service is what you WANT or what you NEED.

• Decide whether the product/service's benefits outweigh its disadvantages.

There is no fool-proof way to avoid the deception by marketing departments. They know their craft well. But knowledge is power and the more you know, and the less dependent you are on what other people think of you and what you should do, the more reasonable will be your decision.



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