Before I became Hippyshopper editor, I could say with some confidence what people meant when they described themselves as 'green'. But now I'm not so sure...if anything I'm more confused than ever!
Tell someone you're green, and it's likely they'll soon harbour some pretty funny ideas about you and your beliefs. They will almost always assume you are vegetarian (which in my case is true) or vegan, but I know plenty of omnivorous people who are doing more than their bit for the environment. They will assume that you have no interest in anything remotely mainstream, be it fashion, popular culture or anything that could be loosely described as 'fun'. And they'll probably take it as read that you're into alternative medicine, are a staunch believer in homeopathy, angels and UFOs and are probably, to put it bluntly, a bit touched.
All this tells me that the meaning of the word 'green' is changing. I know very few people who fit the traditional 'green' stereotype, and wonder how long it will stick around. But if the definitions used by people outside the green community are confusing enough, they're nothing compared with those within it...
Writing for Hippyshopper is, in many ways, a bit of a minefield. Because of the lack of a definition for 'green', it's difficult to appeal to one set of readers without alienating another. This is something I rediscover on a daily basis, but it was well-illustrated by the lack of agreement in my recent post about the Vegan Society's decision to blacklist Ecover due to its testing on water fleas. 'Green' in this case was taken by one camp to mean 'better for the environment' and by others to mean 'protecting animal welfare'. And when concepts like these meet, things can get ugly.
In his Enemies of Reason series, Richard Dawkins recently launched an attack on many branches of alternative medicine, again dividing the green community. While some greens have been up in arms about Dawkins' rigid rejection of anything 'unscientific', others have commented that they are sick of being lumped in with the anti-scientific alternative therapies community when they are more interested in using scientific methods to save the world. In the wake of all this, I hardly dared post about the programme before testing the water first!
So I'm interested to know what your personal definition is of 'green'. Should the focus be purely on protecting environmental causes, or do we include fair trade, animal welfare and
And is it time to drop the 'alternative' label for good?