When Green is trendy & inefficient: How eco-hipsters fuel greenwashing

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For once, I am going to write an article that is not based on science. All the arguments made in this post have exclusively been put down from the top of my head. This is not about global warming, climate change science, American politics or the environmental cost of eating beef.

I will talk about something that is way more interesting: hipsters.

What is an eco-hipster?

Before I researched this article, I had no idea. Never heard the word before. However, I found the description so accurate and “on point” that I had to use this infamous buzzword.

According to Urban Dictionary, this is the definition of an eco-hipster:

Eco-hipster definition. Photo creds: Urbandictionary.com.

In other words: an eco-hipster is a person that tries to brand themselves as eco-friendly without having any idea on how to live a green lifestyle. Saving the world is not the most important thing. Getting other people to BELIEVE that you are saving the world is everything that counts.

How to spot an eco-hipster in your daily life?

There`s loads of them. Chances are that you know a couple of them as well, which made me want to outline some clear characteristics:

If you ever met an eco-hipster, you know their style. Frankly, they all look the same.

– They are factually wrong about most of the climate change science out there.

– If they had a meat-free lunch four years ago, they will probably still talk about it.

– 90 % of their Instagram photos have some type of weird filter (black & white, retro, etc.).

– As exemplified by Urban Dictionary, most eco-hipsters are hypocrites. They believe that a backpacking trip to Vietnam could be deemed eco-friendly if they ask for not getting straws while ordering their Gin & Tonic. What annoys me is when you follow some “eco-friendly traveler” on Instagram and they have been in London, Washington, Ho-Chi-Minh and Shanghai in only two weeks. Yep…..very environmentally friendly lifestyle.

If you want to see some Instagram legends who actually do something good for the environment, I can strongly recommend this article.

– They love urban areas. You will never see an actual eco-hipster out in the woods.

– Some of them go to vegan cafes. However, that is just to upload some pictures to their Instagram profile. Most of them hate vegan food.

– The clothes they are wearing might look like its bought in some second-hand shop, but it`s not.

Do you feel like you are one of them? Or do you know someone that might fit these criteria? 🙂 Let me know in the comment section below the article.

Why are eco-hipsters a threat to the planet?

Now that we defined who they are, it`s time to look into what damage they do to our planet.

1. Buying whatever trash they THINK is environmentally friendly

Because they fuel businesses that greenwash. If some random clothing company produces a plastic hat from China with a “green & proud” logo on, they would buy it – without really thinking of the CO2 emissions from that hat.

As long as building an image is more important than actually DOING something actively to reduce global warming, I have no respect for them.

2. Businesses that actively greenwash will not suffer

Unless you are informed about the concept of “greenwashing”, I would strongly recommend to quickly have a look at the definition on this external website called Investopedia.

On the flip side, companies will get the impression that they do not have to change their eco-harmful practices. All they need to do is to target 25-35-year-old eco-hipsters living in the largest capitals of Western Europe.

You would not believe how many of them can be found in Copenhagen, London, and Berlin. They are everywhere.

A great TV concept would be to go out in the streets of London and try to sell some t-shirts with an eco-friendly message printed on them. Regardless of what material they contained or where they were manufactured, I can guarantee that you would sell a lot in a couple of hours. All you need to do these days is to claim that your product is eco-friendly.

3. They are annoying

I did say that this article was going to be 100 % subjective, didn`t I?

So…to wrap this up, I will give a very short and precise conclusion.

Last words

Companies do not need to be eco-friendly to sell products and services. All they need is to appear eco-friendly. This slows down the development of green products, which is super harmful to the environment.

And who’s (partly) responsible for this?

Eco-hipsters that are unable to (or not willing to) distinguish between some proper eco-friendly products and some greenwashed products.

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