This week’s column is a bit more editorial than informational. I have a lot of friends who send me info on sustainability, eco-lifestyles, organic food - basically anything having to do with the environment. They know it’s a subject I’m very passionate about. They begin to tell me how they are now “going green” and all the changes they’ve begun to make in their lives that are earth friendly. I applaud their efforts and offer encouragement and advice when I can. I believe every step someone makes no matter how small can make a difference. Sometimes, later, I’ll check in with friends to see how they are doing with the changes they’ve made, and will learn they are “over it”, or have moved on to some other trend.
Over it! How do you get over something that’s with us constantly? This leads me to wonder whether “going green” is just a trend for now. When I used to work in the fashion industry we had a saying for when something was new. We called it the “new black”. Black is a constant staple in fashion, it’s what some collections are built on, it’s always present, and goes with anything; so when something or some new color trend comes into play that is very popular, we call it the “new black” (e.g. navy is the new black, boots are the new black, etc….). So is the environment the new black? Is this just the latest hot trend for today that will soon be forgotten tomorrow? Or is environmentalism finally hot enough to have hit mainstream America?
The answer to the above question is yes! Environmentalism is really hot right now and I’m not just talking literally (high temperatures all over the place!); it won’t be forgotten tomorrow, and yes, the majority have finally caught on that we are using up our planet without replacing what we have taken. According to the July 17, 2006 article of Newsweek, membership in the Sierra Club is up and the number of Americans who say they worry about the environment has increased from 62% to 77% between 2004 and 2006, (and this poll was done before the release of an Inconvenient Truth). Religious groups are talking about it, doctors are realizing the connection between food, environment and health, and there’s even a Republicans for the Environment group that’s getting in on the action.
Job postings are showing more listings for qualified candidates for environmental positions; universities and colleges are beginning to offer more classes in this field of study and even more specialized degrees (I plan on writing more about this in my next article). Celebrity gossip blogs once dominated the internet; now blogs on sustainability and eco-living are everywhere. People are getting the word out. Even fashion and lifestyle magazines are publishing special “green” editions. “Green” has even hit Wallstreet with companies such as Starbucks and Walmart who have begun introducing sustainable items into their product lines. I must admit this is all very exciting to see!
As I flip open the pages of the September 2006 issue of Dwell magazine, I see the cover reads Green Goes Mainstream. My only hope is that green doesn’t become just another catchphrase to hopefully sell products much like the word “extreme” did and as of late “organic” has become (but that’s another story…..). Green represents growth, sustainability, and development; much like what fashion tells us about black, it will never leave and is here to stay regardless of the trends. Well then, I think it’s safe to say Green has become the new black!