"Light green" refers to people who recognize the importance of refraining from damaging the Earth's ecology, but often are not willing or able to make radical changes in their lives and in their consumer choices. They are willing to make some small changes, such as buying compact fluorescent light bulbs rather than incandescent bulbs, and donating to projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the purchase of carbon offsets.
"Dark green" folks, however, would counter that consumerism itself is the problem and that a person buying an organic cotton shirt might be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking he or she has done his or her part. To illustrate the difference, a dark-green purist might ride a bike to a nearby inn instead of jetting halfway around the country on vacation, while his or her light-green neighbor might go on the airplane trip but buy carbon offsets for the flight or stay in a "green" hotel.
A 2011 report from BBMG of San Francisco says that more than 70 million U.S. adults are considered the "new consumers," who have in common their concerns for how products affect the environment [source: BBMG]. Although economics surely affect discretionary spending, BBMG's report says that 25 percent of new consumers are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products even during a recession. Still, they might not choose to make new and large purchases when money is tight.
It may be tougher for people who think in dark green but live in a light green economic reality. In other words, most sustainable products, like organic foods, cost more than those that aren't green. That's when it's time to get creative and really get in touch with your dark green side by cutting back on overall consumerism. Seed packets are inexpensive, so why not grow your own herbs and vegetables if space and weather allow? Instead of paying $11 for a movie, stay home, buy a tube of caulk and seal those leaks around your home where air escapes in and out. Work out your own bartering or sharing with friends and neighbors for food, transportation and the like. And simply cut back. Those who firmly believe in sustainability argue that the cost of going backward from dark green on sustainable choices is too high.
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