Thursday, September 20, 2007

it's not easy being green

I subscribed some time ago to The Hartman Group's newsletter. The following is their intro to a new publication to follow the trend in sustainability:
  • In 1969, the cultural icon, Kermit the frog sang, “It’s not easy being green.” Now almost 40 years later those words still ring true for most corporations interested in or involved in sustainable issues.
It's overwhelming for Americans to think about all of the sustainable hippie activities that they aren't doing/could be doing. "Green with just a touch of blush: the environmentally conscious feel guilty when they slip up," an article in USA Today Monday touched on this a bit more:
  • 20% of Americans experience so-called green guilt.
  • A Catholic priest in England is reportedly taking green confessions at environmental festivals. (potential sponsorship idea here anyone?)
  • Danny Seo, an environmental lifestyle expert, sees a lot of eco-inspired guilt. "The No. 1 thing I get from everyone is I'm sorry, I have an SUV, but I have children." He notes that guilting someone can easily backfire.
  • Environmentalists have a bit of a reputation for being sanctimonious.
When I was in Miami Ad School, my team put together a campaign for the NRDC: National Resources Defense Council. Our message was in response to this notion of guilt; we wanted to address what people actually are doing to help the environment, so we said Thank you.
  • Thank you. By turning down the dimmer all the way, you've [closed the gap and] taken the first step in protecting the environment. We know you might think you are not doing enough, but know that small things like this support a healthier Earth. So keep doing the little things. The world appreciates your contribution.
We tried to bridge the gap between thinking that what you're doing isn't enough and realizing/being aware of what you are doing is appreciated (that's where close the gap came in). It would be a first for a company to spend a lot of money on a campaign to thank people, but we agreed that acknowledgment of efforts in the environmental arena should be rewarded in the efforts to accentuate their importance. :)

The USA article provided some web resources for more info:
"Right now, green is trendy. We want it to become second nature, like it is to put on a seat belt. Word. Green on!


Ash said...

I like the ideas you put forward at Ad School, I think that trying to convince the population that they are actually making a difference is a really tough remit, especially over here in the UK where a lot of the population don't consider that our overall carbon output is even that high, in comparison to other countries (no names mentioned – cough – America – cough)

I was talking to a friend last night who told me about a new carbon calculator that being designed by Accenture which works out not only how much carbon dioxide is produced in the finite stages of a company's product development, but all the other factors that are involved in this production process. Take for example a bag of crisps (potato chips), the new system will take into account how much one’s carbon footprint is affected by growing the potatoes (industrial machinery, fertilizers etc) then getting the potatoes to the factory and pumping up the water required to soften the potatoes and also the what impact having various spices and ingredients flown over to the factory from which ever country around the globe, etc etc.
The main problem now is working out a suitable metric but I’m sure those clever chaps over at Accenture will think of something! -

Perhaps a bag of crisps isn't the best example but I think the main point to be made here is that there are a whole plethora of factors affecting every element of our lives when it comes to one’s carbon footprint and the little things can make a difference.

dharmaDiver said...

I love the ad.