Green is the New Black: Why Sustainability is All the Rage

The green movement is long been burdened with the stigma of being for Birkenstock wearers and granola crunchers only, a hippie pipedream rather than a realistic lifestyle. However today, these stereotypes are quickly becoming as irrelevant as is a wasteful lifestyle, and there are plenty of reasons why.

Green is the way of the future: Whether we realize it or not, every day progress is leaning towards a more sustainable way of life. Banks and credit card companies are going paperless, stores are offering e-gift cards (to spare plastic waste), and e-readers that can hold thousands of books are flying off the shelves.  Car commercials are competing for bragging rights on the lowest gas-mileage, and classic food companies are returning to their less processed, greener roots.

Green is, well, cool: Famous names attached to the green movement also lend to sustainability’s appeal, with names from Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett and George Clooney to Tom Hanks.

Even the fast food market is making a shift, turning to more sustainable practices and products due to an increasingly savvy customer base. Emerging restaurants, like Pret a Manger, focus on serving fresh, local products and preservative-free ingredients.  Started in London in 1986, the company only came to the US in 2000, however their customer base and popularity has been growing rapidly since, and locations can be found in major metropolitan areas such as Chicago, Washington DC, and New York City.

Even major fast food corporations are taking the hint, looking to more sustainable practices themselves. McDonalds, for example, opened their first LEED certified gold pilot restaurant in Chicago in 2009, with plans of expanding to other areas. Several other fast food giants can also boast LEED certification, including Subway, Starbucks, and Chipotle.  (For more information on Chipotle’s awesome commitment to “food with integrity,” click here!)

So now, going green is not just the more conscious way to live, but it is more popular too!

By Grace Interlichia, Class of 2013

4 Replies to “Green is the New Black: Why Sustainability is All the Rage”

  1. Hi Grace,

    Thanks for replying, and I take your point. Here’s hoping that these small moves grow into much bigger ones. By the way, love the “green washing” phrase – haven’t heard that one before.



  2. Hi Julian-

    I wrote this piece so I wanted to respond to your comment! Yes, sadly I have to agree with you, and in today’s world it is necessary to be able to discern a real commitment to sustainability from simple “green washing.”

    However, these corporations have a voice in the community, and a loud one at that. So when they make a point of pushing the green agenda, even if they have their own agenda at the core, it sends a message that sustainability need be considered, and hopefully at the very least gets people thinking.

    Thanks for reading 🙂

  3. Any effort by any of the corporations you mention should be applauded, by I can’t help thinking that they may be token efforts for publicity, rather than real efforts to make a difference. This may be slightly cynical on my part, but taking McDonalds as an example, they may have opened their first LEED certified restaurant in 2009, but looking at their best practices website, they say they plan to open a further 25 over the next 3 years. I’m unsure of the date of that article, but it strikes me as a fairly minimal contribution by a company of that size.

    Anyway, let’s hope all these multi-nationals ratchet up their efforts, as at present, the green argument may be gathering pace with the population, but I think that big business still has a lot of catching up to do.

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