There are many people who care deeply about living in harmony with the environment. And for this reason, the notion of living green is immediately appealing.
Likewise, there are still many people who are not instantly turned on by the idea of eco-friendly lifestyles.
And there are those who fall in the middle of this spectrum. They are concerned about environmental issues, but they are not die hard green enthusiasts either.
Personally I would love to see more people make conscious, eco-friendly choices. But I understand that even though there are more product options available, the issue is that "green living" is still a concept for most people. By nature, most people are driven by experiences, as opposed to concepts.
Environmentally favorable choices often feel like lists of shoulds and should nots
- I should recycle my trash
- I should bring my own bag to the grocery store
- I should use biodegradable detergent.
- I shouldn't use styrofoam cups
- I shouldn't discard non-working appliances in the trash
- I shouldn't buy a car that uses a lot of fuel.
There are many factors involved in the choices that consumers make. But sensory experiences and a sense of culture are probably the strongest determinant in making these choices.
When I talk to people who are not particularly into green living, they tell me, "most people don't care if something is made sustainably. They just want what looks good and feels good."
For example, the experience of being a celebrity is coveted by many, especially here in Los Angeles. We associate it with designer fashion, beautiful cars, homes and being recognized everywhere. We also associate celebrities with the movies and songs we hold dear to our hearts.
Music is a great example of culture and lifestyle. Different people like different genres, which even affect fashion and style choices. When we tell others what type of music we like, people get a picture of what we resonate with.
As another example, Mac lovers prefer with the cool, hip stylish sophistication that their computers offer over regular PC's.
Green luxury attempts to capture the sensory appeal of eco-friendly living. For those who are already green enthusiasts, this type of lifestyle is intrinsically satisfying.
For the average person, the feeling experience of what it means to live green is still nebulous. I am not saying that promoting eco-friendly living options is a waste of time. All I'm saying is that the world of media is filled with images and messages that appeal to our emotions and senses. Green living is easily perceived as conceptual rules about what we should and should not do.
Product choices are one way to represent eco-friendly living. But lifestyle goes beyond the things we buy. We are far more than what we purchase. Our inner world is a vast landscape of where we've been, where we are today, our thoughts, perceptions and emotional lives. It's understandable why these intangibles can't really be captured and showcased in the media. But they do exist.
Most of us spend so much of our waking hours in pursuit of money, which gives us the means to buy things. We need money to have the experiences that we want in life. But we must not forget that we are also part of the universe as a whole. Our relationships to ourselves, each other and all of life is important, along with our physical existence.
I think once we realize this we are in a better position to realize how much happiness and joy comes from making a positive difference in this web of interconnectedness. Adopting a pet, for example, provides a type of satisfaction that grows stronger over time. This is different from buying a new outfit, which is only fun at first.
There are numerous ways to make an impact and feeling the joy of making a difference. This type of happiness is not the same as the wow feeling we get when we buy something new. We have choices. We can define our pleasure in instant gratification. Or we can choose the journey of discovering it in things that are not so appealing at first, but grows in satisfaction over time.