LES ECHOS

It Ain't Easy Being Green: First Signs Of Eco-Fatigue

With an increasing number of products marketed as “green” and activists raising the pressure on people to think about the environment day and night, more and more consumers are getting grouchy about having to always be eco-friendly.

Kermit said it best: it ain't easy being green (Gord Fynes)
Kermit said it best: it ain't easy being green (Gord Fynes)

*NEWSBITES

The starting point may well have been the 2006 release of Al Gore's movie about climate change, "An Inconvenient Truth." Ever since, more and more brands have launched "eco-friendly" products on the market. From cars to light bulbs, it is hard not to be pressured to go "green".

When Le Monde invited its readers to send in their stories about how "adverse they are to sustainable development", the paper received a huge number of e-mails.

Consumers feel that they are being taken for a ride when they are sold new, green products such as: "Low-energy light bulbs. 7 euros each. Duration: inferior to incandescent light bulbs. May contain polluting agents'. Christophe, a 43-year-old computer technician who recycles, thinks it might be much cheaper and greener not to buy them in the first place.

Florian, a 23-year-old student, believes that - as a French consumer - daily "earth-friendly" gestures won't make a difference, as most of the world's pollution comes from industrial Russia, China and the US.

Are Christophe and Florian atypical? Quite the opposite, says French pollster Ipsos, whose surveys show that an increasing number of people believe "too much is being done about climate change." In 2008, 33% agreed with the sentence above, but today that number has climbed to 45%.

According to experts, " green fatigue" made its first appearance after the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, which didn't yield much in the way of change. People started wondering if companies were plotting together to make consumers buy their new green products, and members of the "green resistance movement" started to emerge.

Rémy Oudghiri of the Ipsos Institute also explains this trend by the fact that, in times of economic crisis, people are focused on caring for themselves, rather than the planet.

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

Read more from Le Monde in French

Photo- Gord Fynes

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