What does "green" mean?
“Green” is a popular way to describe “environmental friendliness” and often the social responsibility associated with it. In the company of “eco” and “sustainable*,” “green” is in danger of trying to say too much without proper definition and qualification.
The word organic went through a similar evolution in the food industry and edged out “natural” when it became firmly rooted, thanks to certification standards.
”Green” became linked with environmentalism nearly 30 years ago through high-profile campaigns and media coverage of vanishing rainforests and holes in the ozone layer. Some of the word’s popularity can most likely be attributed to John Elkington’s 1980s book, The Green Consumer Guide, which has sold more than a million copies.
Although the promise of a mass green consumer movement didn’t materialize in the late 20th century, dedicated Greens stuck with it. A flurry of unsubstantiated eco-labels and green claims by the early 1990s was met with cynicism over “green-washing” and eroded the confidence of most mainstream consumers. Looking back, the low-level understanding consumers had of the increasingly complex environmental problems may have been a factor.
While a solid definition of “green” is hard to identify, from a REALTOR®’s perspective, the concepts of green homes, buildings and real estate practice will help shape what green means.
* In 1987, the United Nations General Assembly World Commission on Environment and Development defined sustainable development as development to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
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