In developed societies there is evidence that being green is a status symbol. In 2009 the National Post reported on a study conducted by a University of Minnesota social psychologist. Usually green or organic products are priced higher than their non-green competitors. The study found that when prices on these same green/organic products were lowered, consumers who usually bough green were less likely to buy them. Vlada Griskevicius, the social psychologist involved in the study, concluded that buying higher priced green items showed a person had enough money to make the sacrifice “to be more ecologically conscious.” When the prices were lowered, consumers were less interested because the opportunity to showcase their wealth no longer existed.
I completely agree with americalibre, in developed countries, going green can be seen as a sign of wealth. However, there is a movement of people attempting to go green by becoming more self sufficient. In the case of this movement, going green is not a practice in flexing the muscles of your bank account but rather rejecting the ideals of a consumer driven lifestyle.
The practice of growing your own garden, making your own clothes, using fossil fuel alternative modes of transportation, foraging for your own food, or refusing to buy new products do not require exorbitant amounts of money. These practices require the discipline to leave behind the creature comforts of modern society in exchange for a simpler, more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
While this is an affective method for going green, it’s not viable for most people because of the massive time commitment it requires. This type of “greening” is certainly on the fringe of the green movement.
There have been many people practicing “green” lifestyles due to lack of wealth or resources, but the term “green” hasn’t historically been used. For example, you may consider my grandmother’s lifestyle during the depression as “green”. She reused everything she had and hardly threw anything away. She used only what she needed to get by and didn’t consume in excess. To this day, my grandmother cleans and reuses plastic bags to store food in. Many farmers in rural southern states are the same way. They use green practices to ensure the best yield for their crops. They use animal waste as fertilizer, rotate crops to ensure soil quality, use as many parts of animals they butcher as possible, etc.
Maybe the terms “green” or “eco-friendly” are more status symbols than “conservative”, “thrifty”, or “sustainable living”, which many people practice from all different socioeconomic statuses all over the world.
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