Weird name non-withstanding, this "Greenfluencer" thing seemed pretty cool. According to a Porter Novelli report, Greenfluencers are pretty important people. In fact, the report states that more and more, average consumers are turning to Greenfluencers to find out what and what not to buy:
Consumers can rely on Greenfluencers to sniff things out in a way that they may not trust brands and organizations to do- not just the issues but also the issues behind the issues; not just what corporations are saying, but also what they're not saying.
Sounds pretty good to me. But there's more:
They are active, not passive. They join, rally, lobby, write letters and generally believe strongly that collective and personal actions can impact global warming.Well that definitely sounds neat! And consistent with my idea of "APLS" or "Greenfluencers." The report thus concludes that corporations should pay attention to Greenfluencers and do their best to woo said demographic.
They stand out not just for their interest in the environment but also for their overall up-and-at-'em attitude to life... In short, what they lack in numbers they more than make up for in energy and presence.
Great! Sign me up! I will gladly tell corporations how best to woo me. So I'm all set to leave a nice comment telling Colin how much I like this post, and how great this seems. And ... then I see the comments.
Turns out, I was in the minority in thinking this whole "Greenfluencer" thang was cool. And a lot of the commenters, far from thinking being a Greenfluencer was neat, found the whole thing very, very objectionable. Comment after comment talked about how "real" environmentalists don't consume, and how this was all very bad greenwashing.
Let me tell you something. Unless you are hiding your money underneath your bed, you too are probably a participant in a consumeristic society. The bank you use is likely a multinational bank traded on the stock exchange. The money you deposit in the bank is used by the bank to make a loan to someone else. And if you have a 401(k), or stocks or mutual funds, well, those are all corporations. To suggest that "real" environmentalists aren't consumers is patently absurd. Very few people have the wherewithal or the inclination to completely disengage from the system. Thus, in my view, it's imperative to find ways to achieve a sustainable life within the system. And that means engaging corporations instead of ignoring them and hoping they go away.
I also take umbrage with the idea that environmentalism is some sort of exclusive club and anyone who is not hard-core need not apply. Take my friend Honda. She's not as eco-insane as I am, but she recycles and buys recycled products. She brings her own bag to the grocery store, she tries not to turn on her a/c in the car, and she limits her a/c use in the house. Is she a non-consumer? No. Does she try to buy less while buying more consciously? Yes. Is she an environmentalist? I would say so. Is she the kind of person we eco-types need in our camp? Definitely, yes! Honda is exactly the type of person we want to attract. And while she's smart, and caring, and can definitely be "greenfluenced," she is going to want to buy things here and there. But she would also be willing to pay more for things produced in a more sustainable fashion. And in my mind, that's where Greenfluencers come in.
Now being a Greenfluencer doesn't mean that you have to lie down and let corporations walk all over you. It doesn't mean succumbing to greenwashing. Rather, being a Greenfluencer means positively engaging with companies rather than avoiding them. Take for example, The Take Back The Filter project I mentioned yesterday. I'll let you in on a little secret. Beth drinks her water straight from the tap. For that matter, so do I. Neither of us, personally, feels the need for a Brita filter. So why didn't Beth start an "avoid Brita and just drink tap water" campaign? Why ask Brita to recycle filter cartridges?
Well, it's because Beth recognizes that a lot of people do want filtered water. She's realistic. And so, instead of trying to boycott Brita, she's trying to engage Brita. In essence, Beth is using her "greenfluence" to make Brita a more sustainable company for us all. Would it be easier for Beth to just say, "Don't consume. Avoid Brita." Sure. But would she reach fewer people with that message? I think so.
Ultimately, I'm a non-consumer because I believe that this is the right thing for me, right now. And I write about my positive experiences with non-consumerism in the hopes that other people will be inspired by my actions. I love it when someone tells me, "I almost bought this thing, but then I thought, Arduous wouldn't buy it, so I didn't." I think that's great! I like to think I'm helping provide a road-map to an alternative life-style that people can choose to follow to whatever degree they desire. Part of my job as a Greenfluencer is to act as a role-model for a life based more on consuming experiences, and less on buying stuff.
But ultimately, these are my choices, and this is what is right for me, and I don't pretend to know what is best for other people. We all have to make our own decisions, and we all have to follow our own path. And even those of us who consider ourselves environmentalists may approach things in different ways. Some may focus on growing their own food, but will happily shop at H&M. Others will give up air travel, but will continue to drive a less efficient car. And really, that's okay. Because as a wise Thistle once said, "it’s better to be hypocritical than apathetic when it comes to the environment."
So that's why I'm happy to be a Greenfluencer. Even if I think the name is kinda dumb. Ah, well. At least it's better than YAWNs.